Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Life At The Bar (A Trying Experience Part Two)

As you may recall from an earlier post, a few months ago I was cited for walking Lenny in the park without a leash. I decided to fight the ticket. Well, last week I finally received the letter scheduling my hearing date before the Environmental Control Board. The hearing was scheduled for today at 9AM. GAME TIME!

As usual, I arrived 15 minutes before the hearing time and ended up waiting half an hour before the clerk judge called me and the office who cited me.

I was a bit disappointed that it was a clerk judge and not a real judge, but I really wasn't all that surprise. However, I was happy that it was female clerk judge who I hope would have sympathy on me.

At 9:35AM, clerk judge Stein called us to her office. She had us both swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth (so help us god) and started asking questions. She began with Officer Perez who issued the ticket (actually might be a good looking man under different circumstances.)

CJ: Officer Perez, what do you recall on that day you issue the ticket?

OP: Yes, ma'am. That morning, we were doing our normal checks around the park and I saw her; the respondent with an unleashed dog. I approached her and told her that there is zero tolerance policy on unleashed dog. The commissioner and the mayor are very serious about this policy because they receive a lot of complaints about unleashed dog (editor's note: yeah right, I just saw a couple of dogs today running around in the middle of the park without leashes. Maybe the mayor and the commissioner should check our park once in a while). There are may sign posted all over the park (yeah the ones that have been vandalized?)

CJ: Do you remember what kind of dog she has?

OP: (looking at the paper - which clearly shows that he doesn't remember) Ah yes, it was white dog.

CJ: Ms. T, do you have any questions for Officer Perez?

JT: No your honor.

CJ: Very well Ms. T, what is your defense?

JT: (putting on my most sympathy garnering face) At the time, my newly adopted dog was with us for only about two months. He was rescued from a very abusive puppy mill, which kept him in a cage for the first 5 years for his life. So when we adopted him, he didn't know how to react to anything around him. However, while walking him that day, I noticed that his tail was up. Normally, when I walk him, his tail is tucked in and he is scared of everything around him. As soon as I saw that his tail was up, I took a picture of him to show to my husband. I temporarily removed his leash and took a picture. As soon as I got up to put the leash back on, the officer was behind me in his car and asked me to come closer to him.

I put my dogs leash on right away and walked toward his car. He told me that my dog is unleash. I asked him if he can give me a warning but he refused and told me that there is a zero tolerance policy in the park. I remained quite.

As soon as I left I noticed that he cited on the ticket that I was walking with an unleashed and uncontrolled dog - and that was not true. I was not walking with my dog unleashed and he is not an uncontrolled dog. I removed it for few minutes just to take picture. That's it!

CJ: I understand you are upset (no shit) but did you explain to the office about this?

JT: I tried to, your honor, but I was very nervous. It's my first time getting a ticket and he already told me about the zero tolerance police.

OP: If you'd just told me about taking a picture, I probably would not have given you a ticket.

CJ: Next time Ms. T, you need to explain the officer.

JT: I wish I had a chance, your honor. I'm aware of the dog leash policy but, like I said, I was just taking a picture of my dog. I never walked him unleashed and he is not an uncontrolled dog. He is shy little dog.

CJ: Officer Perez, do you remember if she was walking the dog and for how long?

OP: When I approached her she was standing with her dog for about approximately 2-5 minutes.

JT: That's because I was just taking a picture.

CJ: Do you have a picture?

JT: Yes (going to my bag, got my iPhone and show her the picture)

CJ: He is very cute and he was off leash (I just realized I may be fucked....they can use that as evidence....I have to say something....shit)

JT: I'm not denying he is not on a leash, your honor. But like I said, I removed it to take a picture and as soon as I got up, the officer was behind me. I was not walking him without his leash and he is not an uncontrolled dog as stated on the ticket.

CJ: Do you have any questions?

JT & OP: No

CJ: Very well. I will not make any decision right now. I will review the report as well as the take and make a decision in the next few days. I will send you the result by mail. If you don't agree with the decision, you can file an appeal and the same thing with you Officer Perez.

Enjoy your day everyone!


Dammit! I have to wait again! Now I'm hoping I got her sympathy and she will lower my fine. I can't wait for this thing to be over but to be honest, I kind of like going to the court. Hmmm, perharps I can join my husband's career.