Well, yes: loose dogs. This city is one of the few left on the planet which lacks leash laws. There is one oft-neglected and little-known law which states that "off-leash dogs must be under the control of their owners at all times." Yeah, right.
It is only in the delusional minds of their owners that the dogs frequenting this park are under control. When I first moved here, I was shocked to discover that dog owners not only let their dogs race through the park unattended, they also thought nothing of allowing their dogs onto my property where they often terrorized my 4 year old son.
At the entrances to the park there are signs beseeching dog owners to clean up after their pets. Right! Once the animals are set loose, they take off like bats out of hell, so that even if their owners did intend to clean up after them, it would be impossible. The dogs are rarely within 50 yards of their owners. (I've seen dog owners just stand in the parking lot while their dogs take off on an adventure, unattended.)
During my first year living here, I yelled at several of these dog owners, many of whom were serial offenders. I told them that they were being inconsiderate of other people, including those who kept their dogs on leashes (who constantly had to fight off the loose dogs). I also mentioned that they were breaking the law by failing (miserably) to control their dogs.
It didn't take me long to see that I was wasting my breath. The dog owners simply blew me off, sometimes in very obnoxious ways. Fighting against them just raised my blood pressure. It didn't change the behavior of the dogs or their owners.
This is the entrance into the park from my property. That's my Chihuahua entering the park. I walk my dog on a leash out of respect for others. I'm able to pick up my dog's droppings because I'm right there at the other end of the leash. My house has no fenced yard, so I have to walk the dog several times a day. It would be nice if I didn't have to worry about the loose dogs- sometimes I get lucky, and other times I see the dogs coming, and I scurry back into the house, having learned not to fight. I choose flight over fight.
The other day, however, I was rushing the dog outdoors right before leaving for work when two of the most enormous dogs I've ever seen suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I heard the sounds of dogs growling and snarling, and I was so surprised by the whole thing that I don't even know if the noise was coming from my dog or the others. After being stunned silent for a few moments, I yelled out to the 2 dog owners 50 yards away, "COME ON!!!! YOU"RE NOT BEING FAIR TO OTHER PEOPLE!!!"
They looked at me as if I were from Mars and the man bellowed, "WHATS YER PROBLEM, LADY?"
"THERE HAPPENS TO BE A LAW IN THIS CITY WHICH REQUIRES YOUR LOOSE DOGS TO BE TOTALLY UNDER YOUR CONTROL AT ALL TIMES!!! IS THIS WHAT YOU CONSIDER CONTROL?"
"OK, LET'S SEE WHAT THE POLICE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT!"
"GO AHEAD! CALL THE POLICE!" they hollered as they walked away rapidly.
"YOU'RE COWARDS!" (OK, this was not my finest moment, but I resort to name-calling only in hopeless situations.)
Readers, I ask you: is it me, or are such dog owners out of line?