Monday, June 19, 2006

Police Story

The following is a true story, as are all stories told here at Slampo’s Place. However, any resemblance to persons living, dead or in-between is purely coincidental, depending on who’s reading this. – H.H., reader representative, Slampo’s Place

At mid-morning Friday we looked out the front window and saw two Houston Police Department patrol cars parked in front of a house a few doors down from ours. Two cop cars: Must be something serious, we thought, mindful of all the killing and thievery and general sociopathology that’s had people in our part of town on edge for the past few months.

Some of the dogs in the neighborhood were barking intermittently, including ours, but that was a good thing: There were workmen at the house next door, replacing fascia board and rebuilding a fence for our neighbor, and their presence had riled the dogs. One of the workmen had parked his truck in front of our house, next to a fire hydrant, and we wondered momentarily whether it was really necessary to send two cops to write him a ticket.

We strolled over and asked the officers if there were trouble afoot. “Everything’s OK,” replied one of the officers, who shrugged slightly and made a “yapping” motion with one hand before pointing toward the next house down the block. From the back yard, we could hear two dogs yapping, as they occasionally do when given reason to.

It took us a second to grasp what was going on: Two HPD officers had been dispatched on a dog-barking complaint at 10 o’clock on a Friday morning. In the midst of what the media are calling a “wave” of killings involving teenagers.

We recovered from the shock and went on about our business. But later, as we headed out of town for a couple of days, we noticed that the owners of the dogs---a pleasant young couple with a small child--- had a red tag from the city on their front door.

When we returned Sunday morning we got the lowdown from the neighbors: The cops had been called back twice in our absence. That’s three visits in two days. It seems the woman who lives next to the couple, whose house the cops had parked in front of on Friday morning, had been calling the city to complain every time one of the couple’s dogs opened its mouth. In the daytime.

The woman, childless and pet-less, had moved in just three or four months ago and appears to invest quite a bit of time and money in renovations. She seemed pleasant the one time we spoke to her, but come to find out she’s called the cops another time about another barking dog.

Naturally, the pet owners are distraught. The woman’s never spoken to them about the dog-barking. They talked to someone at the city who suggested they work up a petition with neighbors’ signatures attesting that there dogs aren’t a nuisance. No one’s complained previously.

We’d like to work up a mad-on at the mayor or chief of police, but for the moment will save our ire for our pissy new neighbor, who one night may wake up wishing she’d heard the dogs barking next door.

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