A Dispute Over Phoenix Leash Laws Starts a Neighborhood Battle
Andrew Pielage/Dog: Rusty
It was not as though Lulu lacked manners.
It was Cinco de Mayo, and sometimes a girl just . . . loses all self-control.
When the front door swung open, Lulu took one look at the chaos inside the home and threw herself into the party. She went straight to the couch and knocked a beer out of the hand of an attorney sitting there. Lulu then drank in the scene.
She scanned the 20 or so dogs in the living room.
Surrounded by her own kind, and inside a home, she was free and pleased with her canine self. Lulu looked back at the man who'd let her off her leash.
"This is who I am . . . Do you see me, finally?"
I'd seen that look before. It was the look Maria Conchita Alonso, all ratted hair and gang makeup, gave Sean Penn's cop in the movie Colors.
How you like me now . . . bay-bee?
The party was for dog owners who let their mutts off leash at Los Olivos, a city park. These dog walkers had been targeted by police for allowing their pets to chase a ball, to catch a Frisbee, to, you know, run with the big dogs.
So, a year ago, they gathered to commiserate on Cinco de Mayo. The host, Francine Hardaway, invited everyone to bring their dogs to her home.
She threw the party again, last month.
At last year's party, everyone was up in arms about city cops taking the time and money to ticket people who let their dogs run loose in city parks.
These folks aren't layabouts lingering near the basketball hoop that hasn't had a net in years. These are the people drawn in the architectural renderings of parks, the people who turn a greenscape into a neighborhood.
This year, the Los Olivos people are not just resigned; they are demoralized.