We've been in our new house for the better part of a month, so there has been plenty to keep me occupied. I didn't get the chance to detail the adventures January's old dog during that first weekend -- and when I say "old dog," I mean old dog. He's pushing 14, and is mostly blind and deaf. But what he lacks in alertness he more than makes up for in "little monster" appeal.
Our first weekend in the new house, January's dad was passing through on his way to Indiana and asked us if we would keep an eye on Roman for the weekend. Keep an eye on an old, blind, deaf dog for a couple of day? No problem!
The next morning we headed downtown to the farmer's market to pick up our weekly supply of vegetables and left Roman to wander the fenced in back yard. I'm sure you can see where this is going: little blind dog somehow stumbled his was underneath the fence and had wandered off somewhere. He didn't have a license or tags, so we were understandably concerned; We went through the whole "lost dog" routine: flyers on the lamp posts, knocking on neighbors doors ("Hi, I'm Andy, I just moved in next door, have you seen our dog?"), and yelling his name as loud as we could. Did I mention he was deaf? We yelled anyway.
Long story short, a neighbor had found him and before they saw one of our flyers they had him shipped off to the pound. At 9:00 the next morning we went over to look for him. He was in the last room we looked in, sitting there all grinning and oblivious to the fact that he was three days away from termination. During the release process, we were told that he could only be released to his owner. Rather than wait for January's dad to make the hour drive back, we opted to take responsibility for him, pay for a Franklin County dog license ($32) and get him out of there ASAP. The other downside we were informed of was that I would be cited for having an unregistered dog.
So later in the week I got a letter in the mail from the Franklin County Municipal Court: "You are hereby notified to appear in court... in the Franklin County Municipal Court Building, on Wednesday, September 05, 2007, at 9:00 am." The specific items I am being charged with include failure to have a licensed dog, and failure to immunize against rabies. I was offered the chance to waive my court appearance for the low, low price of $142, but I figured I should have a decent shot of explaining to the judge the situation and getting out of it, plus I was kind of curious about how the process worked.
With me, the process worked by completely forgetting about it until 8:30 this morning. I was at the local coffee shop, eating a bagel and reading one of the local papers when I got to the section about wacky court cases from across the country. That triggered the reminder that I was supposed to be downtown in 30 minutes. After racing home to replace the jeans with a hole in the crotch and my "I Rock" t-shirt with some more appropriate attire, I raced dowtown and was only ten minutes late. Which apparently didn't matter.
The process once I actually got to the courtroom was reminiscent of grade school roll call. The judge got up and read through everybody who had been asked to appear, asking that they call out "resolve today" to indicate that they wished to plead guilty or to please "not guilty." I entered my "not guilty" plea when the time came, after which I was asked to fill out some paperwork where I was to indicate if I wanted to waive my right to a speedy trial. After that, my hearing date was scheduled and I was sent on my way. September 19th, 9:30am. Two weeks. At least this time I'll have an extra half an hour to remember and get down there on time.