Re: My dog arrested for being on the streets with a homeless man.

Catalina Rhodes (homey@ids.net)
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 20:05:55 -0400


Dear friends.... some food for thought....

September 24, 1998

My day started out like any other day..hectic with a trip to the food
bank to purchase supplies and food for guests. The volunteer driver (my
father) came to help out with his van, he offered to take my dog Rex
home, but I declined. Rex, wanted to stay, so he did. On looking back,
he might have been better going, then what awaited him at dusk. 

Rex and I watched as the van took off, heading for home. He barked and
wagged his tail as the van turned onto the road...I waved also briefly.
The day was spent sorting food and putting away frozen foods. Rex helped
by breaking up the boxes, in his own style of course. Our guests have
become very fond of Rex and he often accompanies me to shelters, soup
kitchens and street dwellings.

I was exausted after sorting and lifting boxes. Darn it, I had class
downtown and was running late. So, I got on the phone beeped someone to
care for the dog while I was in class (located downtown across from a
local homeless hangout).  

There was nothing special about this evening jus an ordinary Thursday
night of trying to better myself. They say education opens the mind, so
heh. Some things education comes in all forms.

The lecture was interesting as usual... the professor makes it
interesting.  I left lecture to get my dog.  (Or so I thought)

When your homeless there are not too many choices of hang spots.  I went
into the bar to locate my friend who was dogsitting.  He told me to sit
down..so I did.  Where"s Rex? Upstairs I asked. My friend had this very
perplexed look on his face... I waited..and he told me my dog had been
taken my the police.

I was very angry...I got emotional. Why would they take a six month old
puppy?  The story unraveled. It was too hot upstairs to leave Rex...so,
my friend had tied him to a post on the sidewalk. Rex was under a tree
relaxing...drinking his water... eating his food. My friend told me he
checked him every 15 minutes.  Other folks said he was pleasantl,y
sitting there..waiting for me, in the shade of the trees.

Then the police from the college noticed him. Does a dog belong there?
Well of course... not they thought. So, the dog officer was called. My
friend came out to the dog...a van pulled up. He said hi to the person.
Woo, whats going on . The officer came out with this big leather stick
thing and attached it to Rex.  My friend tried to stop him and they
threatened him with arrest. For a person living on the streets, this
means constant harassment, if the locals get to know you.  So, there
went my six month old german shepard pup... off to the pound.

I was horrified. What to do? I lost it. Where was my dog? So, like a
nieve person I proceeded to the police station to find my dog. They told
me that they did not have the dog, I could get it tommorrow morning when
the pound opened. By this time I was irate, crying and very frustrated.
My dog never hurt a soul, he was jus lying down sleeping on the street.

I decided that I would lie down and sleep on the street, where they had
removed my dog. So, I got my sleeping bag and there I laid in the same
spot under the tree.  No sooner had I done so then the security from the
University came over and asked me to move on. I told them no, I would
not move on. I pulled my sleeping bag over my face and ignored them.
Well there I laid thinking,,hmm, what would they do? I wondered if it
was legal to sleep on the city sidewalks? I kept wondering my fate, then
the city police arrived. A bright flashlite shown on my face. The
policeman wanted me to move on..I said I did not have a place to go. He
told me I could not sleep on the sidewalks. We were at an inpass, then
the security came over and said..that I was that wierdo woman with the
dog. So the police threatened me with arrest for assault and this guy
was going to press charges. Then the city ploice asked if I was mentally
ill again? I told him I was mentally disturbed over my dog...

Rather than face assault charges, failure to move, disorderly conduct as
the city police told me. I pulled up my sleeping bag and left. It was so
emotionally wrenched.. "protect and serve", how nieve am I? The city
police told me to stay out of downtown...if he saw me again he would
arrest me on the spot. I am know considered a dangerous, mentally
disturbed person, capable of sleeping on city streets. My friends
watched from a distance and were very happy I was not arrested. 

I walked to my car and cried the whole 45 minute drive home. This system
is unfair ... where the power trip people hold all the cards or the
folks with money.  I told myself I was no longer going to go Downtown. 

When I was growing up, my parents taught me to respect the law and honor
those who serve it.  So, last Thursday, I lost a small piece of myself,
I realized one cannot respect nor honor our government or it's systems. 
The system is there to protect the money and the makers of money not for
the little guy. A street person or the homeless are worthless in the
eyes of our system. I hold no hope and am so saddened.

I retrieved Rex from the pound ($10 fee) and we headed for the soup
kitchen downtown. The system may be broken but Rex and I will not be
broken. As we head Downtown, I know wonder what may await us ...

Catalina..... and Rex

9/25/98