OK, time to rant.
Today, we’ll be venting about people’s total lack of respect for their neighbors’ peace, privacy, and well-being. I’m referring to those folks who keep all manner of critters as pets, only to have them become a complete and total inconvenience to virtually everyone whose property borders theirs. Please bear in mind, that I’m talking about city dwellers here, not those that live on acreage out in the county.
Let’s start with your dog. I love dogs. I have a couple of them myself. Fantastic pets, dogs are. Here’s where dogs become a problem. First, you take your dog for a walk and it invariably views my front yard as a welcome place to do its business on your way by – in itself not the end of the world. You stare off into space as if you don’t realize what your dog is up to, and calmly walk away when they’re done – not taking their deposit with you. I get to clean up your dog’s mess from my front yard. Thank you for that. As if that’s not bad enough, let’s discuss how your dog barks for HOURS on end for reasons that no human will ever truly understand. Day, night, whatever – it really doesn’t matter. It also doesn’t seem to matter if you’re home or not – you are apparently deaf in the frequency range in which your dog barks. Somehow you can’t hear what the rest of us get to endure on an all-to-frequent basis. Lucky you.
Let’s move on to your cat. I personally don’t care for cats, but I can see how some might choose to keep them as pets. They seem to be fairly self-sufficient, requiring little more than some cat food now and then and a litter box. Hold the phone! You don’t have a litter box. You let your cat outside to do its business. On the surface this would seem to be the easiest solution to the nastiness of a cat box, but unfortunately the fence that so easily corrals your dog doesn’t slow Garfield down for one second. As such, kitty is free to do his business pretty much anywhere it pleases – your neighbor’s flower beds seem to be the most inviting. Once again, your animal’s poop in my yard for me to clean up. Seems to be a pattern forming here. While we’re on the subject of your feline companion, anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to let their cat roam free is welcome to come look at the paint job on my car. It looks as if it has been utilized as a scratching post for every cat in the county for years – seriously. And of course, any attempt by me to deter your cat from destroying my property is looked upon as animal cruelty subject to legal penalty, blah, blah, blah.
And last but certainly not least, we come to those inside the limits of our fair town that have decided that their postage stamp back yard is the perfect place to raise that quintessential of barn yard animals – chickens. Yes, chickens. In the backyard. I’d like to personally thank every member of the City Council that was involved in the incredibly ill-advised decision to allow the keeping of chickens inside city limits. The argument is that the chicken owner is after the “free” eggs. I would argue that if one added up the cost of owning chickens (chicks, coop, feed, etc.), it would probably be more cost effective to drive to Portland every time you need a couple of dozen eggs. Now, I’m not specifically against you keeping chickens. Well, as long as you keep them penned up in some way, shape, or form – which you sort of have to do by default. So, they don’t poop in my yard – great! They don’t scratch the snot out of my car – YAY! And they only make a little noise when they go about laying that egg that’s probably worth about $27 – I can live with that. What I can’t tolerate is that which ALWAYS comes along with chickens – rats. Every time, no exceptions. You keep chickens, you have rats. Period. Problem is, now your neighbors have rats too. And they don’t even get to enjoy the $27 egg. I lived in this house for over 20 years without ever so much as seeing a single rat. Not one. Almost immediately following your decision to turn your back yard into a farm, the rats arrived. I carpet bombed my yard with rat traps (at my expense) and took 8 monsters that first summer. I’m not talking about little field mice either. I’m talking about very well-fed beasts. Rat-zillas, no doubt fattened up on the buffet of chicken feed available around the clock at your place. These things are big enough to trip the motion light on the back of my house. No, I’m not making this stuff up. And now they’re under my house as well. So, we’ve once again set multiple traps baited with the finest cheeses, deployed several little rat-sized hotels filled with poison that rats seem to find irresistible, and generally declared war. Short of burning down my house, I don’t really see any other options.
So, all this being said, the bottom line is that NO ONE SHOULD BE NEGATIVELY IMPACTED BY YOUR DECISION TO OWN AN ANIMAL. No matter what flavor that particular critter might be, you assumed responsibility for everything that critter does the moment you brought it home. Period. Maybe I should return your dog and/or cat deposits to you, send you a bill for a new paint job on my car, and stack the corpses of the invading rat horde on your porch. Maybe then you’d understand, though I doubt it.
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