In a sad turn of events yesterday, Archie was busted in Central Park by the Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) for being in an area where he was not allowed.
And despite the fact that I was holding the other end of his leash, I’m taking no responsibility for his illegal behavior.
As it was a mid-week holiday, we decided to meet some friends for a picnic in the park. Not knowing exactly where we would end up dropping the blanket, my wife inadvertently jinxed us by saying, “It would be just our luck — we’ll get a ticket for the dog.”
At the time, I agreed with the humorous statement. Ha ha ha!
Naturally, our friends wandered right out into Sheep’s Meadow and I stopped at the gate. Sure enough, right there on the sign was the old, “No Dogs Allowed” line.
Did we blatantly ignore the sign? Well, not quite at that moment.
We decided to go find another spot close by that was dog friendly. As we walked about 100 yards away, one of our friends (who shall remain nameless — but who infamously ordered the Jewish Nachos which hurt my stomach) called us and said that there were tons of dogs running around the meadow.
Well, if everyone’s doing it, naturally, we should too. I mean, what are the odds that they’re going to pick us out of the crowd of thousands?
Turns out the odds are very good.
After eating, drinking, talking and playing for about an hour, up roll two PEP officers.
Now, mind you, we’ve been watching people walk their dogs on and off the leash all over the meadow. Archie has remained safely on his leash the entire time and often perched in my lap (mostly to help control his “must destroy Frisbee” mania).
But oh no…Archie is the problem in the meadow. He’s the troublemaker. He’s the bad dog.
The PEP officers inform me that dogs are not allowed and attempt to gather more information from me. In my usual fashion, I play dumb and friendly. Given the crowd we were hanging with — let alone the wife — I’m quite sure that someone else will play the role of smartass and start wise-cracking to the officers.
No, they can’t give us a warning. Yes, if we don’t leave with the dog, they will come back and give us another ticket, etc.
To her credit, the wife does not get up and intervene, but merely tosses snide comments at the PEP officers from the peanut gallery. This prevents jail time for all of us.
The officers tell me that dogs peeing on the grass is a health issue in the meadow as lots of people like to lay in the grass. (Apparently, human urine (i.e., homeless) is not a health issue.)
It is at this moment that I look down and find Archie, in his best “stick it to the man” behavior, peeing on the grass. In fact, he is almost peeing on the leg of one of the officers.
I started covertly tugging on the leash in a futile attempt to stop him, but being a stubborn SOB he just finishes. For all I knew, I was about to get a second ticket for his public urination.
While this is all happening, I looked out across the meadow and watched the other dog owners pack up there picnics and run away. Cowards! Thanks for the support losers!
And so we end up leaving with Archie and a $50 ticket. He’s a criminal. I guess I could actual attend the court hearing and protest his innocence, but I’ve got better things to do (no, really, I do).
Personally, I like to think Archie took one for the team and prevented the entire group from getting individual tickets for public drinking which — as the nice PEP officer pointed out — is also illegal.