Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

The dogs that cried wolf and the man that cried dog.

leashThat’s what gets me: they always behaved that way.

I’m referring to the pair of large dogs currently living in the second-floor apartment around the corner from me. Every time I passed by with Oracle and Cassie, they would bark and jump up at the window, clawing ferociously. I presumed that they were merely being territorial; as my own dogs often exhibit similar, albeit tamer behavior, I understood it and just kept on walking.

In the past couple of weeks, this behavior has not changed. What has changed is that I don’t think the family that was living in that unit is still there.

I never really spoke to these neighbors; we’d acknowledge each other as any other citizen on the street when we saw each other. I did notice that there were constantly renovations going on in the building, but I had no clue that they might have moved out until Dana and I realized we hadn’t seen even a trace of them in weeks, that the lights in the apartment had been constantly turned off and the junk that used to live in the building’s entryway had vanished. No trace, that is, except for their dogs.

I’m horrified. I really am. I don’t know how much English the previous tenants spoke (and although I hesitate to draw the conclusion that there may have been immigration issues just because they were Latino, I can’t discount the possibility entirely), so maybe they just didn’t know how to contact somebody to pick up these animals they had chosen not to relocate along with the rest of them. Still…to just leave them trapped in a cold apartment with nobody to feed them. Shudder. I actually haven’t heard the barking of both dogs in a couple of days, and have a sinking feeling that one of them has died of hunger or exposure and that the other dog may only still be alive because it has been eating its former companion. It’s unfortunate that I don’t better understand the language of dogs, that I had no way of realizing when the barks and clawing to signal “Back off!” had turned into barks and clawing of “Let us out!”

Hell, considering the kind of people who would abandon their dogs like this, I can believe that “let us out” was what they were always saying. I don’t know. It’s sick and sad and terrible.

But you know what else is sick and sad and terrible? The byzantine riddle of how to do anything to rectify the situation.

I started by calling the city’s non-emergency number last night, to see if I could get Animal Control to come out and investigate. I was informed that the city cannot enter the premises, if locked, without being granted access by tenants or landlord. Without this permission, the city’s hands are tied.

The building is locked, but the number of the realty company was posted very clearly on one of the entryway doors. I called them this morning to try and let them know that maybe one of their holdings was housing a scene from the unrated director’s cut of Se7en. I got an automated message that asked me to dial my party’s extension or Oh-For-Operator.

Dialing for the operator gave me another automated message telling me how to fax something or how to get to the company directory. The company directory asks you to enter the first four letters of the person’s last name. I know nobody at this company, and there are no other options that will get me to a human voice, so I looked them up online.

Gotham Corporation certainly knows how to post a sign on their building with very impressive clip art above their logo and phone number, but their website design seems just a step above the blank-ish spam pages you find when you accidentally mistype the URL to which you meant to surf. I’ve rented apartments from larger companies like this one; I’m aware of how unimportant they consider the concerns of their tenants, so I don’t feel confident that they will respond to an email from somebody who doesn’t in any way owe them money. In fact, if they do respond and express even the slightest concern I will be absolutely bowled over with faith in humanity.

So now I consider my options for humane yet illegal measures, and none of them seem any better than waiting for either the landlord to respond or the dogs to expire. If I were to either force open the front door or climb the back gate from the alley, I’m concerned not only about the possibility of being caught and charged with B&E, but also what to do if I successfully manage to get into the unit. The surviving dog or dogs may well be crazed with hunger and fear, and that would be a pretty terrible way for me to die. Simply releasing the dogs is both socially and ethically irresponsible. The catch-22, then, is that I cannot ask for the help of Animal Control or some other service without admitting that I committed a crime in the first place.

Right now the only three solutions I’m able to come up with that don’t involve ignoring the situation until it reaches its gruesome conclusion are:

(1) I contact the Anti-Cruelty Society and other organizations and see if they have channels or resources that I do not…put them on the case, so to speak.
(2) I try the realtor again, go to the company directory, and input a few random combinations of four numbers/letters–possibly attempt something like “JOHNson” or “SMITh”–in the hope that I get somebody who might be able to direct me to proper personnel.
(3) We call in a “noise complaint” later tonight to see if we can get the police to investigate, although we don’t have a clue if the police can enter the premises if nobody answers, or if the dogs will decide to bark or be silent. We’re also not sure if we can do this anonymously; I’d hate to draw a false report charge if the need to know who is doing the complaining.

I’m definitely going to try (1) shortly. (2) and (3) seem like increasingly less viable options, but they’re what I have right now.

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This entry was posted on April 7, 2009 by in Action Items, Chicago, Dogs, Society.
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