Of Dogs and Dummies: Life in the Pedestrian Lane

Cops can be really stupid, and even dumb dogs can be really smart!

On Thursday December 22 2011 I was going to an appointment with my doctor at Mosaic Medical and was walking to the bus stop (the bus stop is across the street from the mobile home park that I live in, and its a 5-10 minute walk from my house to the bus stop). I walk everywhere and usually try to cross SE 15th Street as I come out of the park (this depends on traffic though, and this time traffic was quite heavy so I decided to walk up the street to SE Bronzewood Avenue and cross there–that’s where the bus stop is anyway, at the corner of SE Bronzewood and SE 15th)

I noticed a vehicle driving very slowly half in the bike lane, half on the road. Then I noticed a medium to large dog (looked like a St Bernard/boxer cross, with the markings of a St Bernard, body of a boxer) walking along the sidewalk; the vehicle was a police car or animal control vehicle (no markings on the vehicle, no lights on either).

The cop was following the dog and attempting to capture it. Yes, we have a leash law but this dog seemed to be very mild mannered–no biting, snarling, growling, foaming at the mouth, or rushing at me (or anyone else). In short, this dog was not an active threat to anyone!

Before reaching either the dog or the vehicle, I stopped and rested by leaning against a tree on mobile home park property (this PRIVATE property borders the CITY sidewalk, and I often stop and lean against a tree, sit on a rock, etc on this PRIVATE property–as repeat readers of this blog will remember, I have a very bad leg; even short walks are painful, troublesome, and require frequent stops).

When I resumed walking, the dog saw me. He ran and disappeared into one of the unfenced yards in my mobile home park.

The police officer (animal control officer, perhaps, as I said the law enforcement vehicle was NOT marked!) saw me too, and that was when things got stupid: the police officer actually motioned me to jaywalk across the street with a minimum of 15 cars coming in each direction.

At this point, a second cop in an actual police car had pulled up behind him, still with no warning lights on.

How would cars coming from either direction even know until they were within striking distance of ME (literally) that either of these cars were police vehicles, or that there was an issue, or that they should stop for me?

Although there is no law in Oregon against jaywalking (I already verified that with the police, as noted in this post: http://www.i-dont-think-so.com/?p=1070), I have a real aversion against doing it when there is heavy traffic. I am not into dying or severely injuring myself by allowing 3,000-5,000 (minimum) pounds of homogenized metal to come into close personal contact with my body!

The only times I would even consider jaywalking in heavy traffic are limited to the following:

1) I have been told to cross the street against traffic (jaywalk) by a police officer, animal control officer, or other public official who has their flashing lights on or some other way of letting the general public know that there is an issue and that they should stop for either the jaywalker or the public officials

2) There is a very real threat to me if I remain on the sidewalk or on the shoulder that I am currently on (say a dog that is biting, snarling, growling, foaming at the mouth, rushing at me in a threatening manner, or showing signs of aggressive behavior). However, even a dog bite is probably less painful and life-threatening then the aforementioned 3,000-5,000 pounds of homogenized metal traveling at between 30 and 40 miles per hour; I would probably take my chances with the dog unless it was foaming at the mouth (I hear the treatments for rabies are painful).

I find it appalling that a police officer or animal control officer would even think of risking the life of a pedestrian while attempting to capture a dog that was presenting NO threat at all to anybody. Leash law or no leash law, it is beyond stupid (and beyond irresponsible) to encourage unsafe crossings of a busy street simply because you are so focused on capturing a dog

I was amused to see the dog heading in the other direction (north on 15th street) about 10 minutes later.–the cop had gone south on 15th street and then disappeared into the traffic on Reed Market Lane. I do agree with the principle of leash laws as you never know if a dog is going to be aggressive or not, but I was pleased that the dumb (IMHO) cops had failed to either capture the dog or get me killed/injured

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