City Desk

Neighborhood News Roundup: Dog Unfriendly Edition

A regular summary of irregular news and notes from neighborhood blogs and email lists around the District.

Neighborhood News RoundupDog Un-friendly: InShaw is worried about the canine future of local grocery store Field to City. The writer says the store no longer allows the four-legged friends of their patrons to roam freely (or leashed) in the establishment. According to the blogger, “the fellow who was manning the store said the Health Inspector had said dogs can't be there.” “Where are we supposed to get our dog fix now? Dogs were one of the positives about Field to City. You'd go in and there usually would be someone to pet. Or someone to step over because he sprawled himself in the way. Yes, okay, I guess that was a health matter, a tripping hazard," writes the blog.Flower Snatching Begets Face Punching: A member of the Takoma Park email list was up in arms after noticing a number of  flowers were stolen from their yard. Apparently, the flowers were “stole as in ‘carefully dug up and took with them.’” The member took to the list to encourage neighbors to be on the look-out for “freshly planted forget me nots in the area,” and urged them to “please let me know so I can let get the police involved.” Residents didn’t hesitate to spring into action with responses like “sorry to hear about this, i sympathize – but can't help imagining the scene at the police station upon their receiving a report of stolen forget-me-nots.'ok, boys, let's round up a posse, we've got ourselves some genuine no-good, downright rascally flower-snatchers on our hands! hee-haw, better bring the shovels.'” The response wasn’t appreciated by the lists fellow horticulturists and plant enthusiasts alike, “It may only be flowers to you, but to us gardeners it's our time and energy and appreciation of nature and a serious affront. But most gardeners are generous and will give you a starter plant if it's a good grower.” “I appreciate that the police have more pressing work to do than canvassing the neighborhood for flower thieves, which is why I did not involve them immediately. I asked if anyone had seen freshly planted forget me nots — they are almost impossible to find in stores this time of year– because this would have been enough information (a probably suspect) to involve police. If we take the attitude "it's only flowers" or "porch furniture" or "a hose", then pretty soon "it's only a car" or "they only stole my TV" or "they only punched me in the face."

Brookland's Burn Book: Residents of Brookland are turning to the neighborhood email list to bash a new resident. “Just ran into our friendly new Brookland neighbor. She called me a 'middle-aged hag.' Ouch,” one writes. “WWMRD? (What Would Mr. Rogers Do?),” says another. “Call her a a yuppie aged hag ......... Sorry that's what I would do!!!” and “Yikes! I need to walk downtown on 12th Street today. Wonder if I would run into her and what she would call me — a Chink with bags under her eyes?!!” continue residents, whose thread of jokes was interrupted by a number of reasonably concerned list members. “I was under the impression early on that someone thought this woman might have 'belonged' to some group home in the neighborhood. Has that notion been dismissed? Is she now deemed to be a homeless person who is non compis mentis in a particularly mean way? Does anyone know where she sleeps between bouts of loud insults?” writes one. But another member counters, “There is so little compassion for her hard road in life, for the isolation from society that she lives with everyday, and the abusive treatment she receives from others including some of you. What I hear is 'not in my neighborhood' but I suspect that if she were your relation you would feel so very differently. Her behavior is out of her control, and instead of taking her insults personally you might find it in your hearts to simple smile and say hello – treat her like the human being that she is. Even if she is living in a group home situation, are you truly expecting them to lock her indoors so you don't have to experience a side of life you'd prefer to ignore? Really?”

Off-Leash Offenders: A Chevy Chase resident made nervous by “memories of untethered dogs charging at my dog and the fracas that ensued” after crossing paths with an unleashed pet took to the email list to remind neighbors about D.C.’s leash law, a reminder that sparked ideas of 24-hour surveillance among members. “Most folks in this neighborhood carry a cell phone camera. Why don't we photograph off leash dogs And their owners and post both on an off leash web site. Their neighbors can no doubt identify either the dog or the owner, perhaps both. When folks get their pictures taken and told they will be posted on the off leash offender web site, perhaps they will reform...” one member writes. Another believes, however, that “vigilantism is not the solution.” “Would we take pictures of bicyclists passing stop signs and post them? How about folks that don't make a full stop on a red light? And then what do we do afterwards? Do we take their dogs away...or their bicycles...etc.” Another resident begs to differ. “We can take pictures of bicyclists running stop signs, drivers running red lights. Anything that might deter people from breaking the law seems fair game, especially since the people involved obviously don't think they'll get caught by anyone in authority. I'm all for cameras everywhere (which we wouldn't need if the miscreants didn't think they were above the law in the first place) – citizens can be "on the beat" just as Neighborhood Watch has us watching/looking out for anyone in our neighborhood doing something suspicious or illegal. "Call the Police" is the instruction, so why not?”

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