Thursday, February 2, 2012

Alicia and the Dalmatian

This is a true story.  Only the names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

When Alicia was very little, maybe about two or three years old, she was in her back yard playing when the neighbor’s large Dalmatian came running after her, barking.  The rear yard was fenced in, and her parents thought it was secure.  She was terrified of the dog, as it was certainly larger than she was.   Alicia did what most children her age would have done.  She ran inside, calling for her Mom and Dad. 

There were neighbors whose house faced the alley, and they also had children, who happened to be sitting on their back porch, laughing at her for running inside.  Alicia’s father did not see anything funny about the incident, as he had talked to the neighbors about that dog before.  Maybe it jumped over the fence, who knew, except maybe the children in the neighbor’s yard.  This all happened in Hamilton, Ohio, where there were fence and leash laws to help prevent just such things from taking place.

All this happened just about the time when Alicia’s mom, Arlene’s two cousins drove up in front of the house.  Carl, Alicia’s father ran outside, to the car.  He reached inside and into the glove box, retrieving a pistol that the cousins always kept in their vehicle.  (This isn’t as odd as it may seem, as this all took place in the late 1940’s, when many people kept firearms in their cars for protection.)

Anyway, Carl ran back inside, and to the rear door in the kitchen.  He had the gun at the ready, too.  The dog was not too far from the fence on the left side of the yard.  Unknown to Carl, Alicia was watching everything.  Carl, aimed the gun to the right side of the back yard, toward where he had a box-type utility trailer parked.  When he fired the gun, the dog yelped, and well, needless to say, there was a lot of commotion.  It was not very long before the police came knocking on the door, either.

It seems that the dog’s owner, and the parents of the kids on porch, called to report that Carl had shot the dog on their porch while the children were playing there.  Of course, this was completely untrue, but it was still illegal to fire a gun inside city limits.  Alicia’s dad was given a citation for illegally firing a firearm, and had to go to court to tell his story to the judge.  He also had to pay a fine of $50.00.  That was a pretty stiff fine for 1947 or 1948.  At least the judge listened to his story, and the police who came to the house, did verify that the bullet from the gun ricocheted off of some metal on the trailer, and that was how the dog was hit.  He would never have intentionally shot a dog, or aim and fire a gun anyplace near where children were playing.

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