Haven't quite finished the revamping of the visual aspects, but that's coming. We did manage to finish the kitchen redo, i've yanked most of the invasive Chinese privet out of the back, cleaned out the garage (bad news? Philco Recycling Services, the guys who used to be in the Whole Foods parking lot recycling everything one Saturday a month, seem to have bailed, and i've got a car full of styrofoam and plastic that needs a new home) we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do with a deck in the back yard, and i got all of the Steely Dan vinyl re-digitized with the new turntable, and it sounds great.
I was kinda hoping that Durham would get its shit together while i was gone, so i wouldn't feel any pressure to come back, if you know what i mean. That detoxing can get kinda addictive in its own right.
But, no such luck.
Kevin's already been writing
earlier this week about noting that Durham has $1.2 million in unpaid fines that it isn;t collecting. These fines have been levied against landlords for various code violations. The city isn't collecting the money because it can't use it to balance the budget, but instead has to turn it over to Durham Public Schools. So collecting it hasn't been a high priority.
Here's a clue for our elected and appointed officials.
Most of us don't know the difference between the various branches of local government. It's all "Durham" to us. And those of us who do understand the difference? We don't give a fuck. The fines aren't to help the school system pay for after-school programs, although that's a nice benefit. The fines are to discourage rotten landlord behavior. And for those of us who live next to houses that are owned by rotten landlords, you can't fine them fast enough to start changing their behavior. Hopefully Tom Bonfield gets it, and rather quickly, how bad this makes the city look.
Meanwhile, some moron with a couple of pit bulls let them run loose on the greenway between the Duke Park and Trinity Park neighborhoods about 2 weeks ago, where they attacked and killed another dog being walked by a 10 year old.
The County Animal Control Deparatment managed to take one of the dogs into custody, but not the other one. As of last week, the second dog was still considered to be at-large. I've talked to a number of people who use the greenway regularly who have stopped using it. The county is pretty lucky that only a dog was killed.
No one has claimed the dog that was picked up, so there is apparently no way to find out who owned the dog that is still loose. In fact, when i attended the meeting of the Animal Control Advisory Board last Tuesday night, the director of the shelter said that she could not be certain that the dog had not been turned in by its owner to be euthanized.
I asked that, since the shelter puts down approximately 80 dogs per week, how many pit bulls matching that description might have been put down over the past week. She couldn't tell me that, only that about 60% of the dogs euthanized at the shelter were pit bulls.
I was kinda surprised that almost all of the discussion at the ACAB centered around the 911 response to the emergency callas placed during the dog attack. Yes, clearly there's some protocols that need to be changed at 911 when it comes to dangerous animal issues. The county only has one Animal Control officer on duty during the hours of 5pm to 8am, and on the weekends. That's a lot of hours to have that minimal coverage, and it makes sense to me to have the police brought into the picture more readily when AC officers might be otherwise occupied, as apparently the officer on duty two Mondays ago was.
But that's not the only problem here. There's was lots of heated discussion on various local listservs about potential solutions, but pretty much everybody agreed that there's an abundance of "irresponsible" pet owners in Durham. (Personally, i think irresponsible to too gentle a word for a great many of those folks, but i'll use it for this discussion.) There's a lot more that needs to be done in that area. Moving the animal license fee over to the tax people is a very small first step that will, hopefully, get the number of unregistered pets in Durham county down from the 60% or so level (you read that right - Cindy Bailey at Animal Control estimates the number of unlicensed dogs and cats in Durham at around 60% of the total population). But then what?
What penalties accrue to not registering your animal? Or not getting it vaccinated? Or letting it run around, intact, making more unwanted puppies? Or worse, breeding your dog for fighting? Let's not pretend that isn't a huge problem in Durham.
Here's another thing. I don't know how detailed the minutes of the ACAB get, or even if they get published on the county website. Last i looked i couldn't find them.
The director of the animal shelter raised a concern during the discussion about 911 that getting the police involved in potentially dangerous animal situations is going to lead to more innocent animals being shot by poorly trained officers. Physician, heal thyself
. Apparently, you already knew about this incident at the time you were complaining about the police being involved in dangerous animal situations because it might lead to innocent animals being killed. Personally, i'm willing to take that risk, if it means that the likelihood of some kid getting mauled by someone's fighting dogs
is minimized. But really, the irony of the animal shelter director, who's just suspended an employee for putting down the wrong dog, complaining about the risk that the police might get trigger happy is just too delicious.
Let's fix the real damn problems first, then we can worry about the hypotheticals.
Labels: Dogs, Durham, landlords, metablogging
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