This past Saturday, I was part of the first-ever Walk for Victims of Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Dogs. I'm proud to say that this event took place in this, the City of Tucson.
I'll admit to being pretty hard on Tucson in this blog. My stance results from all the official indifference to the victims of barking noise, if not the outright hostility. I've personally experienced both.
However, I'm hopeful that when it comes to dog issues, and the abuse of people that stems from irresponsible dog ownership, things may be changing. And if Tucson, the city that sounds like a kennel, leads the way, hooray!
Although Saturday's walk was about victims of dog attacks, I met more than a few people who've also had issues with barking in their neighborhoods. And not just in Tucson. They've tried to enlist the help of neighbors in getting the barking problems solved, but no such luck. Which means that they've had to fight this battle alone.
A parent of a pit bull mauling victim reported similar difficulties in getting support from his neighbors. Despite the fact that his child was so severely injured that he spent several weeks in the hospital, there were neighbors who were, shall we say, less than kind to him and his family. It was nice to see this man and his wife getting such wonderful support at Saturday's Walk.
Truth be told, there wasn't much walking on Saturday. We were too busy hanging out and talking to each other. Most of us had never met face to face, but we've sure done quite a bit of chatting, sympathizing, joking, weeping, and sometimes cheering online.
After the walk, er, hangout, I rode the bus across town with a lady who is both visually impaired and in a wheelchair. She uses a guide dog to navigate our city, and she'd made her way across Tucson to share her story. Seems that her dog, a very quiet and benign fellow, has been attacked by pit bulls seven times. Yes, you read that right. Seven times.
Has she gotten help from officialdom here? Like the Tucson Police Department? Nope. Animal control, which is known as the Pima Animal Care Center? Uh-uh. We agreed that animal control is the most useless waste of tax dollars in our area. And it has some pretty tough competition from the city's downtown revitalization project, Rio Nuevo.
The organizers of Saturday's walk would like to see similar events happening in other cities. Great idea.
And, despite the fact that these same organizers received death threats in the days leading up to Saturday, the event went off without a hitch. I guess the people making the threats were too busy at their computers to come out and harass us.
Okay, now that it's 4:27 a.m. on a Monday morning, and I've been kept awake for most of the night because of barking, I have a final thought. For the victims of barking dog noise, I don't think a walk would be the best course of action. We're too tired for that.
So, how about if we converge, en masse, on governmental meetings and catch up on our sleep? We could don our jammies and bathrobes and head down to the Tucson City Council and have a sleep-in. That might just help us get effective anti-barking legislation like this.