Home > Stories From Small Town > A Morning with Barney: King of the Couch

A Morning with Barney: King of the Couch

I write quite a few animal stories on my blog because they contain some of the more humorous situations I experience on the job. Small town policing is different from city law enforcement. We handle just about everything thrown our way including animal control.

I’m the nature lover at the department and when I see coyotes, owls, rabbits and even snakes while patrolling, I’m in awe. Their incredible beauty is a gift.

Unfortunately, the guys I work with see target practice. I live in a cowboy ranching community where hunting is taught from early childhood. If it has four legs it’s open season. Harsh but accepted here.

The day I met Barney (my name for him), I finished working ten hours on the night shift and drove home as the sun was coming up. Two hours later, the morning duty officer was at the scene of a traffic collision and not available. My phone rang and I groggily answered. An unknown Pit Bull was on someone’s porch and growling as they tried to leave for work. Could I help?

I put on my previous evenings uniform and drove to the address given by dispatch. The beautiful Pit Bull was occupying a six by six foot raised porch. He was king of his hill. As the owner of a one hundred and sixty pound Rottweiler, I have a healthy respect for big dogs but have little fear.

I parked fifteen feet from the porch and climbed out of my vehicle. Barney had no intention of allowing me to move closer. He aggressively stepped to the end of his domain; his large fanged teeth displayed and low grumbles rumbling from his throat.

Making no sudden moves, I slowly took out my Taser. When I didn’t walk closer, Barney’s growls diminished and he settled back into his territory. The nervous homeowners spoke to me through their living room window asking what I was going to do.

Our animal control truck was at the department, and no one would be there for another hour. I was being told by the homeowners that the Mrs. needed to be at work. Thinking on the fly, I came up with a plan. I told the woman I would get the dog off the porch with instructions to come outside and walk slowly to her vehicle when my goal was achieved. I assured her I would stand between her and Barney, Tasing him if he attacked. I knew in my head that if the Taser didn’t work, I would be forced to shoot this gorgeous animal.

I returned to my vehicle and revved the engine getting Barney’s attention. With my hand pressing down on the horn, I put my foot to the gas petal and charged the porch. Barney leapt down and ran to the side of the house. I jumped out and guarded the woman as she made her way to her car, placing my Taser in my left hand, keeping my gun hand unencumbered.

Barney moved to the back of my vehicle and watched as the woman drove away. I stepped onto the porch and took my position. Barney’s tentative steps brought him closer. I sat down with my legs dangling over the side, assuring him softly. Barney, knowing the King of the Hill rules walked up to me as pleasant as could be and rubbed against my legs. I then got kisses for my trouble.

The big baby then followed me to my vehicle, jumped in the back and off we went to the kennels. I don’t have a cage in my unmarked unit but Barney was happy with his backseat kingdom. He followed me inside the K9 prison without difficulty. He then saw the couch and jumped up.

Barney was again king of his hill. He refused to budge from his throne even with gentle nudging. I enticed him with dog food for thirty minutes before he followed me into his short term home. I snapped the picture above as Barney proudly reigned over his kingdom.

Large dogs and especially Pit Bulls pose a major threat to the public when they are not properly trained and contained. Barney was claimed and his owner paid a $30.00 kennel fee as well as a $125.00 misdemeanor citation for allowing his dog to be at large. I am the last person to want any breed of dog banned but owners must take responsibility for their pets or it will happen!

Barney was a challenge but we all came out unscathed. He hasn’t been seen running around Small Town since.

  1. October 9, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Good quick thinking! Glad you were on call.

  2. October 9, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Too bad that people are so callous with their pets. A skinny puppy came in the office when we had the door open last week. He’s been eating the cat food my boss puts out for the stray cat that lives under the building. We can’t feed them all and in the long run we have to call animal control. It’s hard to do even when you know it’s best.

    • October 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

      The number of unwanted animals destroyed every year is heartbreaking. The answer… spay and neuter!

  3. October 9, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    You are a braver woman than I am. Having been bit twice by dogs over the years while minding my own business, they can smell fear on me. I’m glad you were able to get the situation under control!

    • October 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      I love dogs and I seem to have a knack but I’m not stupid about it and don’t ever want a pit bull chomping on me:-)

  4. October 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Thanks for having the confidence to treat the dog in the way you did. It would have been all to easy to just shoot it. There are no ‘bad’ dogs; just bad owners.

    • October 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      You are so right, only bad owners! Found out later, this was Barney’s old house and owners had moved to other side of town. Poor dog just wanted to go home.

  5. October 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Brava Suzie!!!

    It sounds like having you as the responder to the call was Barney’s lucky day. Glad you have the confidence to deal with large dogs. The fear factor usually starts people down the road of using overwhelming force.

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      The back of my police car is covered in dog hair. Just the way I like it. I understand the fear of others, just lucky not to have it.

  6. Pamela L.
    October 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Great story! Poor Barney, thinking his home was still there. And awesome way you handled the situation. I don’t know if dogs can really smell fear but I try to be as respectful toward them as I can. We’ve had neighbors with pit bulls and I’ve never had a problem. Even brought one back to her owner when she got loose.

    • October 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      I’ve never owed a pit bull but the ones I’ve dealt with have been great and I’ve never had a problem. Bad owners give them the bad reputation.

  7. October 9, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Great story, Suzie. I’m so glad you had the wherewithal to facilitate a happy ending. Love your blog. I’m hooked.

  8. srs35
    October 9, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Just wondering, what’d you guys think about such factors as inbreeding (in BullT-s), and they have labile nervois system to start from…
    They are handsome, but are they obidient as much as service/companion/guard dogs?
    Absolutely owner’s shortcomings (“nurture”), or “nature” (small gene pull, labile CNS,etc.) might be at play?
    Thank you, and take care ),
    Sveta R.S.

    • October 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

      I think inbreeding is a problem with almost every type dog. My husband and I are choosy when acquiring a new Rottweiler. We want calm, nice and loving parents on site before we will consider a puppy. The biggest problem I see is people not understanding the type of dog they are getting. We socialize ours with children and other animals. We know the breed and understand the inherent problems associated. We have never owned a mean or vicious Rottie. We spend many hours training and making our dogs members of the family. My Rottie’s best friend is a teacup Chihuahua and unlike most Chihuahuas, she loves everyone.

  9. October 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Wow, dogs must be such a challenge to police officers — and it sounds like you handled this so well! I’m sad to say we have a neighbor dog (that I assume is a fear attacker) who charges and growls at every one who passes by and has caused more than one very stressful situation. The owner always apologizes but doesn’t do anything…. as you say small town law enforcement handle just about everything and eventually they’ll be involved with this no doubt. I do not envy your job (and I wish you lived in my town so I could call you about this 🙂

    • October 11, 2011 at 7:44 am

      If you have an animal control in your town, I would encourage you to call them. If not then notify the police. Many people in Small Town call us anonymously. A warning by an official person might do the trick. I don’t mind dealing with dogs when the end result comes out well but unfortunately many times it does not. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  10. Ronnie Mercer, Ret. Navy SEAL
    October 11, 2011 at 7:14 am

    First of all, thank you for providing this wonderful story to your readers on smashwords for free. I very much enjoyed it, it was quite funny at times and gives a good insight of what the police academy is like. You are a true inspiration not only for other women, but for men as well. I will continue to read your future books. It was sad to hear about Officer Rodrigeuz, I did refer to the website you provided.. Truly unfortunate. Be safe out there and keep us posted with your adventures… RM

    • October 11, 2011 at 7:37 am

      I had to pinch myself and then read your comment again. Thank you! You are are the first person I’ve heard from that has read the Smashwords edition. I’m so glad you took the time to visit P-Rod’s Officer Down page. He was such an incredible young man and he is truly missed in the law enforcement community. Thank you as well for your service to our country.

  11. October 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    You make me feel like I can do anything. It’s the way you rock it out seemingly so effortlessly that makes it impossible for me not to push myself to do better. I mean, I’m just sitting here with my mouth open shaking my head left to right and right to left thinking about any number of things I put my mind to…

    • October 17, 2011 at 6:12 am

      Yeah, like writing a new blog post please:-) I’m missing your dry wit and scathing personality. Your posts always make me smile!

  12. October 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I have similar issues with Elmer. He seems to like my spot in the bed. I’ve told the wife “You’re cheating on me and he’s a real son of a bitch!”

    • October 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm

      My Elmer is named Charlie. My husband kicks her our of our bed every night when he goes to sleep. She weighs 160 lbs. At least my husband doesn’t shed.

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