Dogs are sweet and loving creatures, devoted to their families and mainly friendly. But they–or the subject of them–can divide a community pretty darned quickly.
Dogs on leash, dogs off leash, people who don’t pick up their dogs’ poop, people who don’t control their dogs, people who control their dogs too stringently. Everyone has a story.
The recent attack of a poodle by two roving, vicious pit bull terriers is sure to get just about every animal lover choosing sides. In one corner, there are the people who think that pit bulls get a bad rap. In another, there are plenty of people who, fearful of the dogs’ strength, blind obedience to their owners and unpredictability, want them banned from the city altogether.
The city is using the attack (see page 1) as an excuse to start citing owners whose dogs are running off leash in Patterson Park. Cops say that this is in response to park users who have called to say they feel threatened by the loose dogs. Dog owners, of course, say that their dogs need to run free in order to exercise, socialize and relax, and they’re not bothering anyone.
Time was that there was a small group of people who ran their dogs in some marshy land southeast of the Pagoda. This was before the park was really popular, and before the housing boom and then the bust. This was a time when there were a whole lot more sketchy characters in the park. And the dogs helped keep them away, and everyone appreciated that. No one bothered them, and joggers knew not to cross the soft land southeast of the Pagoda.
But there are a whole lot more people using the park these days, and a whole lot more dogs. And there are plenty of people—still—who open the door and let their dogs run out of the house. They are the ones who need to get citations.
It would be nice if the citation-writers would make a distinction between “off leash” and “under control.” In the old days, Animal Control officers would announce themselves well before reaching the dogs and owners in the park. They would come over the Pagoda hill waving their citation books. Anyone who could get their dog snapped onto a leash in the next minute or two avoided the fine. Those who could not, paid.
Maybe the cops could try that tactic.
One more thing.
It might be time, once again, to get vigilant about people who raise pit bull dogs for fighting. Fifteen years or so there were a lot of them around Patterson Park, and they used stray cats to “blood” their dogs. Some of the unfortunate cats were pets that had been allowed out to prowl.
It took months, but the neighborhood managed to drive the cowards back under the rock from whence they came. It has been years since there was a series of attacks like the ones we saw a couple of weeks ago.
If you see someone, or know someone, who is training pit bulls for fighting, call the cops. Call 911. Please.
And now for something completely different.
The United States Postal Service is drowning in red ink. The Associated Press says USPS lost $5.1 billion last year. Spokesman Dave Williams says that USPS expects to deliver 50 percent fewer first-class pieces of mail in 2020 as it does now.
That’s a big revenue cut for the Postal Service.
So it is proposing to save $2.1 billion a year by delivering the mail slower.
At the moment, if you drop a first-class letter in the mailbox, it should reach its destination in a day or two anywhere in the continental U.S. The USPS is proposing to make that three days.
And for magazines, two to nine days. That could spell the end for weekly newsmagazines and community papers that depend on the mail for delivery.
It’s a good move for USPS—it will drive customers from first class rates (44 cents at the moment per ounce) to Priority Mail ($4.95 flat rate) if they absolutely positively have to get it there in one or two days.
Bulk mailers, of course, are exempt from this. As long as they get their properly sorted and bundled bulk mail to the post office early in the morning, it should get to its destination the next day, Williams said.
In addition, 250 sorting stations and hundreds of post offices will be closed. Twenty-eight thousand jobs will be eliminated, mostly through attrition.
But USPS will continue to deliver on Saturdays.
Cutting off Saturday delivery would save $3 billion a year, according to a report that USPS filed with the federal General Accounting Office in March. The GAO is skeptical of that figure, but let’s say USPS has overestimated the savings by a third. That’s still $2 billion in savings.
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see a reason to continue Saturday delivery. It’s been years since I got anything but bogus auto deals and insurance come-ons on Saturdays. I expect that others might have the same experience.
Anyone agree? Disagree? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 410-732-6603.