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.