I have to take a deep breath before writing this. I toyed with not blogging about this particular situation because I not only does it bring up anxiety in me, but some of you may not look at me in such a favorable light after reading it. I will preface this story by stating that I am a human with an anxiety disorder. I am prone to panic attacks (always have been) and a lot of my anxiety stems from being stifled and holding things in. The other part is just chemical. It comes on with no warning and I just have to deal with it. This is a big reason for this blog. I have things in me that I can get out on paper (figuratively) and them it's not so much "in me", but "out there." So here we go.
I have been walking a particular dog down a particular street roughly three times a week for about 6 months. I'll give you a mental picture. There is a line of newly constructed townhouses. Then behind those there is a common driveway and another line of newly constructed townhouses. They were all built right around the same time (same developer, same design, etc) , so I had always assumed that they were affiliated. The dog lives in one of the houses on the one and he likes to walk around the corner where it's quiet and do his business. He always pees at the very front of the common driveway and poops at the end. I pick it up and we are on our way. We have been doing this for 6 months, and on Friday some lunatic man comes charging out of his house screaming at me. Literally screaming at the top of his lungs "This is private property!!! You need to leave! Don't walk your fucking dog here! " Then his lunatic wife comes out right behind him and joins in the screaming. "It's fucking private property! You can't be here!" They are yelling so loud and won't let me get a word in. So there I was , standing in a common driveway about 10 feet from his front door with a dog getting yelled at. Of course my first reaction is to yell back , and it went something like, "Whoa!!! There is NO sign that says this is private property. The dog lives right here (and I point)" They respond even louder "This is fucking private property!! There doesn't need to be a sign, I'm telling you to fucking leave!"
I will segue into this statement. If I had a nickel for every time someone in South Philly tried to tell me that something was private property when it wasn't, I'd be rich. For example, the bitch on Kimball who said that the street and sidewalk behind the business across the street from her house was private and a dog couldn't walk there, the bitch on Christian in the section 8 housing that said the tree across the street from her house was private and to "walk my fucking dog somewhere else", the bitch on Carpenter who said the tree and the sidewalk were private and kids play there so I can't walk a dog past (just to name a few) So when someone just starts yelling at me using the phrase "Private Property" and there is no indication that is IS private, I stand my ground. There was no sign, no gate, no rope....nothing.
Anyway, he continues to throw a tantrum that I am standing there and after telling me that I'm lucky I'm not a guy because he would have punched me by now - he says he is going to call the cops. I told him to go ahead and he said, "Oh! She thinks I"m bluffing! Ok, fine!!"
So he calls the cops (again, I am standing still in a common driveway with a dog not bothering anything) and this is what he says when they pick up: "Yeah, I'm calling because there is a girl who CLAIMS she is a dog walker and she is on my property and refuses to leave. She is trespassing on my property!"
I hear this and yell "I'm in the driveway!!!!!" So I decided to call as well because this crazy man ran who I have never seen before ran out of his house and verbally attacked and threatened me. We are both waiting for police, then EVERY ONE OF HIS NEIGHBORS COMES OUT. They all gang up on me like I'm the high school geek that showed up to a popular party. Snotty remarks "Why don't you just leave?" "Why don't you just go? He told you it was private property! Just leave!!"
I'm trying to explain to these people that there is NO sign anywhere stating that this is private, so how am I supposed to know? They all say that there doesn't need to be one - and the one lady who HAD a dog (that she let come out off leash) gets all heated with me and says "Well I guess I should just go inside and make a sign that says private property then! I guess I should go get some crayons and just make a sign! (throwing her hands up in the air) " And I said, "Yeah, maybe you should! How is anyone supposed to know?? "
Then a female cop comes over, hearing the commotion and tries to help. Lunatic man immediately starts running his mouth and pointing his finger "This is private property and she won't leave!!!" And the officer said, "Whoa! Sir, calm down! Did you call the police then?" And he said yes, we were waiting for them to come. She said that she was just coming from court and she was off duty, she just came over because she saw this guy going crazy and ganging up on me. HE acted like a maniac in front of the cop (which was what I was hoping) and I was just calm trying to explain that this dog is skiddish with loud noises and construction and there are no signs stating that this was private property, plus the dog lives 2 feet away. But that there was no need to attack me for walking down a common driveway that is fully open to a main street. She listened to them all bitch like children and then walked me out of there. First thing out of her mouth was , "It was 6 against 1 over there, you know YOU can call the cops too!" I told her that I did, we were just waiting. And since she had a brain we talked for about 10 minutes. I explained the situation and asked the real question. How is someone to know where to go and what is private if there are no signs telling you anything? She said she understood and it's tricky and that people are SO territorial in South Philly that you never REALLY know without a sign. I told her that no matter where I go, all day long I get yelled at for walking a dog near something, so this is nothing new - but people have never treated me this badly. She said she understood and that guy was insane and to just not go back because she doesn't know what he is capable of. Of course I agree and it sucks that this dogs safe pee spot is taken away - but I had to get to the bottom of all of this.
I immediately went home and researched the property. It turns out that the 2 sets of new construction are not related at all, other than having the same developer. The houses in question have an HOA and that common driveway is maintained by the HOA. So here you go. You have a common driveway with a line of houses, each with their own carport. It is open to a main numbered with no gate or fence. There are no signs that say NO TRESPASSING or PRIVATE PROPERTY, but the residents come out like they are persecuting you for witchery in 1692 just for walking with a dog down there! PUT UP A SIGN!!!! If I saw a sign, I would have never set foot on their blacktop. They have a youtube channel for their security camera and there is 1 video posted from January 2015 of 2 trashy women (1 eating takeout as she is walking down the driveway) and they tried to break in to a few of those houses. Um.... 2 women try to break in to your houses in January and no one is there causing a ruckus yelling but I walk a dog by your house and I get treated like a criminal??!! And why is it that there were attempted robberies in January, but in July there is still no sign saying no trespassing??? Or a gate put up?? What are HOA fees for??
To summarize this tale, I will give you this.
Dog walked in same route for 6+ months
Out of nowhere, it is suddenly a crime and I am yelled at by someone I have never even seen before
Cops called - broken up because man is a lunatic but the cop couldn't even agree that is was private because THERE WAS NO SIGN
Dog walker angry and shit outta luck with this dog finding another quiet pee spot
My main gripe is that if you don't want someone on your property, proper signage is KEY. Then if someone is there, you just point to it and call the police because you do have a leg to stand on. I wasn't trying to cause I riot, I wasn't going to have a fist fight, I wasn't refusing to leave like a sit in - I was just simply standing up for myself. I am a tough bitch and if some crazy man and his wife come out of a house and just yell at me to leave when I am not causing a bit of trouble , I am NOT the type of person to run away or just hang my head down low and say "Ooookkkk" and saunter off. That is not me. If you can't be civilized with me and ask me nicely, then I am sticking around to try to explain my side. If you don't want to hear it and you won't calm down, cops are being called and THEY will listen to my side. It's a matter of human decency. You can't just treat a complete stranger like that with no backlash. The whole thing is recorded and I would LOVE to see it. That guy should have been cited for harassment and threatening a female that was simply trying to do her job, but he wasn't. Karma will get him, and if he can get worked up like that over dog 10 feet from his house, I imagine a real fight is likely in the near future with some guy who WILL punch him. And I hope he punches him hard enough to knock some sense into his brain, because no one should have to live with that much anger inside.
PS) They put a sign up on the back fence 2 days later. Ironic thing is, you can't see it from the street and you HAVE to walk all the way down the driveway to read it. Looks like someone else is getting yelled at in the near future. But honestly, I'm satisfied. All I wanted was a sign.