Monday, April 7, 2008 | The last week in January of this year was pleasantly mild. Early afternoon found me weeding my flower garden in front of my little house in Pacific Beach. All was well in my universe. No blips in the foreseeable future. Then the phone rang. I dusted myself off, went inside, spent a half hour or so chatting with a friend, and then returned to my gardening. But wait! Something’s wrong here. Where’s Heidi? Heidi is my Golden Retriever and like me, she’s old and limps a bit due to arthritis. Heidi was close by my side when the phone rang. Now where is she? Heidi’s not a dog to go trotting off on her own. I search about the neighborhood. Still, no Heidi. In a mild panic now, I rush home only to discover a notice stuck on my front door screen. Mercy! Heidi has been dognapped—by a San Diego County Animal Control officer no less.

My hurried first trip down to Animal Control Central Division fails to obtain Heidi’s release. She hasn’t arrived via doggie entrapment truck yet but would arrive shortly. And so I wait. At last, poor Heidi arrives, somewhat the worse for her ordeal. Heidi was current in her license and fees, but I’m told that she was given a distemper shot and that will cost me $57. I hand over a check, accordingly. Now can I have my dog? Answer: no! Before Heidi is handed over to me, I’m told that an Animal Control officer wants to speak with me. The officer proceeds to give me a doggie containment lecture. I respond by plugging my ears. And then the stare down in earnest begins. The minutes tick by, slowly, ever so slowly. Once I unplug my ears, he informs me that my failure to cooperate will result in his phoning the sheriff and that I will be arrested and taken to Los Colinas. I respond by saying that the minute he calls the sheriff is the minute I reach into my purse and grab my cell phone and call the press! The stare down continues. Finally I blink.

Heidi and I head out the door to go home and lick our wounds.

The report from Animal Control shows that Heidi was taken from the yard of a pink house. I live in the only pink house in the neighborhood. She was taken from my yard.

A notice arrives via the mail of a court date. Yes! Yes! I want my day in court—a jury of my peers. (The retired kind—old, arthritic and wrinkled like me.) It never happened. The City Attorney dropped all pending charges. I hate it when this happens!

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