Do you know that annoying chirping sound that happens every 30 seconds when your smoke detector’s battery needs replacing? I know that quite a few of you recoiled and shuttered upon imaging this sound! It is annoying, to say the least! Imagine hearing it incessantly, every 30 seconds, all day, all night, which is what I endured on my first days of summer vacation from the school I work at. Except it wasn’t coming from my apartment (are you kidding me!) it was coming from next door!
All I knew about these neighbors were that there were at least two young twenty-somethings that lived there and that they worked primarily nights. So I thought I’d go over and ask in a friendly, neighborly way, to please, please, please, either replace or remove the batteries to stop the incessant chirping!
I approached their door and was soon hit by a horrendous smell wafting from the screen door and a dog started barking hysterically. I was instantly concerned. I have lived here for the past nine months and I never knew there was a dog living here! Upon hearing it’s bark, I realized that I had confused it’s barking with the barking of another small dog in the complex. The only other two dogs in our complex belonged to me. I held my breath and peered inside. The sight was just as awful as the smell. A small furry dog was crated in a cage on the floor, which was covered in urine and feces. Another empty cage lay nearby and was also covered in urine and feces. It was almost as though that once one cage was dirtied, another was used, rather than cleaning up after this animal.
A voice in my head shouted “NEGLECT!” and I knocked, and knocked and knocked, all the while knowing that the discomfort it was causing the poor dog was temporary and far less offensive that the conditions it was given to live in! The apartment dweller moved around inside, but did not come to the door. Suddenly I realized that one who has intentionally numbed their senses to obvious irritants and transgressions may not easily be reasoned with and I went back home.
Many readers out there may be thinking that a call to Animal Care & Control and the apartment manager and problem solved right? Unfortunately, no. Problem not solved. According to one of the neighbors, Animal Care & Control responded, but failed to return any of my phone calls to follow-up. I don’t know what they told the dog owner about the foul conditions their pup was in, but one day I awoke one morning to a flurry of activity in the apartment next door. I went outside and saw a cleaning team in the apartment! Yes, a cleaning team, of 6, maybe more! They came in a van, wore bio-hazard suits, masks and gloves and were cleaning up after this poor little dog! Certainly this cannot be someone’s idea of problem-solving or forbid, meeting an animal’s needs.
As I pondered over what could be a real solution, the alarm chirped again! Right on cue, it seemed, the cleaning crew came again! This time, I confronted the dog owner; a young, slender Asian female gave me many reasons why she could not clean up after her dog. I unwittingly lectured her which led her to give me the answers I ultimately wanted to hear quickly retreating to the safety of her comfort zone. Ooops.
To this day, the puppy sits, caged in silence for now. The smoke detectors aren’t likely to chirp again for quite sometime. Animal Control will conduct their monthly follow-up, hopefully not right after the cleaning crew breezes in again, erasing all traces of the aroma of neglect.
If you or someone you know are thinking about getting a puppy (or kitty). Please, please, please consider adopting from your local Animal Shelter! These precious little guys & gals have often endured a lot, and rarely had the experience of daily care, attention and love! It is really all I can do to imagine this new start for this little pup in the cage behind my bedroom wall. For him, the options beyond adoption are just more of the same.