Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Dog's Day in Court

From the Local Affairs Desk
an editorial

Spring has arrived in Austin and it's time to get outdoors and enjoy the natural wonders of the Hill Country. With this in mind, I feel it necessary to discuss a growing problem with our beloved Town Lake; and I'm not referring to the impact of human development on the natural environment or the alarming number of unicyclists around the lake these days. I'm addressing a much older problem: canine waste. Now, I love dogs; I get more excited when a dog's around than any grown man should. But their waste is unsightly, poisons our environment, carries harmful bacteria & viruses, and ruined my Italian leather shoes. In fact, according to a study conducted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in 2000, nearly 500,000 lbs. of dog leavings are deposited into the Town Lake water-shed per year.
This problem requires tough action and the current laws are all bark and no bite. Today, failing to take care of your animal's waste can cost you up $500, but I say we can do better. Five hundred dollars is a decent fine, raising this would be unjust as we cannot put this crime on par with more serious offenses. What needs to be changed is enforcement, we have to attack this problem with the means available. Not only should the city step up patrols, but if a negligent owner is caught in the act the offending dog should be confiscated as evidence and held until the fine is paid or time is served. Not only will this be a wake up call to the irresponsible owners, but it will be a direct assault on the root of the problem. These canines strut around our park naked as the day is long and unabashedly defecate on public property, the only thing they respect is brute force.
I can already hear the dog lovers screaming about how this would be a terrible injustice, but face it, dogs are property and the city has every right to take them, it's no different than towing a car. A legal challenge to any dog-jailing policy would have devastating, unimaginable side-effects that I'm almost certain you've never considered. For this policy to be overturned a judge would have to rule that a dog has legal rights. While I'm sure this would thrill the PETA crowd, it would undoubtedly lead to a chaotic world where dogs have legal standing. Soon dogs will be entering into contracts, would have the vote [and they're Hillary supporters] and the American family would be destroyed by inter-species [and possibly gay inter-species] marriage.
On the other hand, jailing dogs will energize our slumping economy by introducing the completely new business of dog bonding, maybe even dog bounty hunting [not to be confused with Dog the Bounty Hunter]. Plus, if the new policy is as effective as I hope, the evidence lockers will soon be too crowded to hold all the detained dogs leading to new privatized dog prisons.
Until city hall wakes up and starts arresting dogs, or possibly putting their owners to sleep, we all have to do our part. Pick up after your animal, spay and neuter your pets, and if you see someone not picking up after their pet punch them in the back of the head for me.

"Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day." - Harry S. Truman

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