Early one morning, I was out walking my dog—in the spirit of full disclosure, she is a very small dachshund mix named Honey. She was sniffing along the sidewalk and up onto that strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street, when we came upon a tantalizing fire hydrant. As far as I know, that strip of grass, called a number of different terms including curb strip, government grass, besidewalk and island strip, is county/town/municipal property while maintaining it is the responsibility of the owner.
As she was sniffing the hydrant getting ready to do what she does on walks, I heard a rapid knocking sound coming from the house behind me. I turned to look and there was who I assume was the homeowner, frantically giving me and my dog the “get outta here” hand motion. The sound startled my already skittish dog and we proceeded to the next house over, where she completed her canine assignment and I dutifully, as a good neighbor, cleaned up after her.
But the incident got me thinking: Does that homeowner understand the rules governing our streets? Does he know I have every right, as long as I clean up after my dog, to walk her on that grass? Does he ever see the signs posted along the roads warning dog owners to curb their animals or face hefty fines or even imprisonment? Well, faceless homeowner with the frantic “get outta here” hand motion, I do know the law so my dog and I will be back to revisit that particular hydrant.
Every so often, one comes across signs that homeowners have placed on that curb strip, warning dogs to “keep off!” Sometimes these signs are actually shaped like squatting dogs. How clever.
Dearest homeowners: This land is not your land. This land is our land. If I promise to clean up after my dog, will you promise to keep your gestures to yourself?
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