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It's Nice To Be Nice

Friday, July 01, 2011

Sensing a presence behind me, I turned.

The unleashed bulldog as big as a beer keg stood about five feet away, looking me in the eye.

I love dogs.

But not all dogs are nice dogs and I don’t want to fight a dog unless I have to.

Not moving, I raised my eyes and spotted a young guy with muscles and tattoos walking about five steps behind the animal.

“You really need to put that dog on a leash,” I said softly but firmly.

The guy said his dog was a nice dog and blew right past me.

“There’s a city law,” I said.

He and his blond girlfriend kept walking to the corner and into the street with the unleashed hound leading the way.

“Maybe I should call the cops,” I said.

“Call the cops.”

What the hell, I thought, let’s see if this guy rivals his dog for brains.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

He told me his name.

“Where do you live?”

He gave me his address.

Man, woman and beast headed up the street.

In the past two years, four serious dog incidents have taken place in my immediate Hill Section of Scranton neighborhood. One day I witnessed two little girls scamper to capture their unleashed ratty mutt that had attacked two people who panicked and ran, the woman screaming as the dog bit at her legs. Another little monster across the street attacked and took a piece out of a little girl’s leg. A powerful Rottweiler got loose up the block and killed a dog whose owner stood by in shock and horror. And a neighbor’s little girl required surgery to fix her face after a “friendly” dog pounced.

So I knew it was time to act. I checked out the guy’s address and asked a neighbor if he knew the man with the bulldog. He said he did and when I drove away he immediately called his pal on a cell phone.

Within two minutes my bad neighbor pulled up with another guy in a pick-up truck. He asked if I was looking for him.

“No,” I said.

‘You were at my house.”

“To make sure I have the right address when I file a police complaint against you and your dog.”

Again, he told me his dog was a good dog.

Not the point, I said, explaining that I’d rather be a good neighbor about this and not cost him money or maybe even his dog but that he would have to fix the problem immediately. Surprisingly, he said he would. I reached into the trick and shook his hand.

“So I just won’t walk my dog past you house anymore,” he said.

I’d have been better off talking to his dog.

I turned and went into the house to call the city police.

The lieutenant said he would help and he did. The animal control officer went to the guy’s house and left a warning. But last night, as I stood on the porch after work, I watched the culprit walk down the street with his unleashed mutt.

This morning I talked again with the lieutenant who talked with the control officer who stopped at my house without my even asking. We’re all on the same side here in policing the neighborhood and making this fine section of my city safe for people walking to church, temple, school, the neighborhood bar or wherever.

We’re even making the neighborhood safe for dogs.

It’s nice to be nice.

So expect a citation, neighbor.

Good neighbor Corbett is happy to help you.

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