I moved into a 24-home neighborhood in the suburbs of Southwest Florida a few years ago, hardly a “gated” upscale community, but one of mobile homes that are well-maintained and where the residents own their property. During the brief time I’ve been here, I’ve landscaped my property far more than anyone else, some of whom have lived here, like my next-door neighbor, for 15 years or more. On moving into my house, I gave a rare tropical fruit tree that cost me $62 (a guanabana tree) to the 80+-year-old neighbor next door as a goodwill gesture. I have 24 different tropical fruit trees planted symmetrically around my land, am taking full advantage of the climate to enjoy fresh fruit and the beauty these trees have to offer.
Anyway, recently a female stray dog has been hanging around our street. She was emaciated and obviously weak. I called animal control folks and they said they were too short-staffed to respond. I began to place food and water out for the hapless creature. She reluctantly ate it, twice daily, and finally would even approach me and take hot dogs gently from my hand. My goal was to get her accustomed to and trusting of me so perhaps I could adopt her as a pet. Recently she gave birth to a litter of puppies under the porch of my elderly neighbor. He called animal control on his own, which his his right, and this time they did respond. They placed a “catch cage” in his yard with food, and when I approached and asked about how to adopt the dog, once captured, the neighbor (who is 87) loudly cursed me, saying I was the cause of his problem having the litter on his land, and he raised his fist and said, “If you don’t leave right now, I’ll lay you out,” meaning physically assault me. I was stunned, and the surly animal control fellow offered no comment on adoption, simply said, “If you tamper with the dog after she is caged, you can face arrest and a fine.”
I assured him I obey all laws and would even remove my feed/water bowls from my yard. Frankly, at age 65, I was amazed how rude, inconsiderate and ignorant acting some people can be. I’ve resolved to never again look at or speak to this neighbor. At his age, I assume Mother Nature will, obviously, neutralize my problem one day via that thing called “old age.” Perhaps one can see why I prefer animals over people. People can act, as Mark Twain said long ago, like the lowest form of animal–irrational, heartless and cruel. “