As some readers may recall, I was recently, through no fault of my own, bitten by a dog. I reported it to the police, and was summoned to come testify about the incident. Today was to be My Day in Court.
Fantasy Scenario: I walk to the witness chair where I’m sworn in (having earlier decided not to make a fuss about swearing on a bible; it’s their ritual, so what the hell). I sit demurely up there and answer the judge’s–or someone’s–questions, being sure to include the owner’s daughter’s little slip of “I knew something like this would happen.”
Fantasy Verdict: The dog’s owner will have to build a special high fence or else not let the dog outside unleashed. She will have to put a muzzle on him when walking. She’ll pay a hefty fee. And she’ll be monitored for three years by Animal Control. In other words, she will be inconvenienced, the way I was inconvenienced, only about ten times more intensely.
Reality: After an 80-minute schlep on bus, BART and a five-block walk through the dusty back streets of Fruitvale, where I run the gauntlet of corner after corner of day laborers awaiting work, I locate the address–which, to my chagrin, turns out to be not a courthouse but an animal shelter. I knock on three different entrances, causing wild barking outbursts but arousing no humans, so I sit down in the hot sun and smoke a cigarette. In ten minutes someone appears, lets me in, and informs me that the dog’s owner’s husband called 15 minutes ago to say she was “out of town.” She didn’t know she’d be out of town til 15 minutes ago?? This is not the most considerate person on the planet.
I produce my written account along with the photo of my arm taken on my Apple shortly after being bit. I talk to the shelter worker; apparently she had a long conversation with the dog’s owner, who declared she’d be unable to implement the regulations required if her dog were deemed “potentially dangerous.” Should that happen, she would, as they say euphemistically on Animal Planet, have him “humanely euthanized.”
Reality Verdict: The dog will most likely be put to sleep.
So this is what I accomplished this morning, folks: I had a dog sent to the gas chamber. Excuse me while I go hang myself.