Friday, March 26, 2004

A pet horror story

I read with delight your article about the upcoming changes in Coweta county leash laws. I have my own horror story to tell.

In the spring of 2000, my neighbor took me to court because he was convinced that my cat, Pal, had killed a bird in his yard and had defiled his flower garden. Never mind the fact that this gentlemen had no fewer that 6 bird feeders in his backyard!

My case was heard in the Coweta County courthouse May 1. As a civic-minded parent, I checked my son, then a sixth-grader at Madras Middle School, out of school to get firsthand experience at how the court system works. I fully anticipated that both myself and my neighbor would get our wrists slapped by the judge and a stern recommendation that we work this out on our own.

At that time, I did allow Pal to be outside (without a leash, of course), so I pled guilty to the charge. The judge (whose name I erased from my memory) sentenced me to 3 days in jail. My knees buckled and a gasp escaped the mouths of other defendants awaiting their turns in front of the judge. My son’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. My sentence was commuted, and I was required to pay a $155 fine to the county. My neighbor was there in case he was required to give testimony, but he never said another word to me, not even an apology.

My son and I have moved to another Coweta neighborhood that is more cat-friendly, and I suppose that old neighbor is on the prowl (no pun intended) to cite others who might be breaking obscure laws. I hope he is happy now; I know we are!

Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

Denise Statham

Director of Marketing

Southern Mills, Inc.

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