The following is a true story, although names have been altered to preserve the identify of those involved.
I took my dog Betsy for a walk before leaving for work on Wednesday. We headed over to a nice boulevard near my apartment, with an area of grass separating the two lines of traffic.
I let her off her leash to wander freely within the boundaries of the grassy area. She’s pretty fast, and I’m not 100% confident that she’ll stay away from the street so I didn’t take my eyes off her for a second. I had a little black plastic bag in my right hand, ready and waiting for her to pick a spot and plant a deposit.
All of a sudden, a man taps me on the shoulder and grunts something to me in Hebrew while showing some kind of identification. I read the Hebrew word for “city” and understood this was a municipality officer.
He asked me, “Did you see what your dog did?”
“She didn’t poop….she probably peed…” I answered, not really understanding his question. See, you’re not allowed to have your dog off a leash, so I was expecting him to simply write me up a ticket; I didn’t realize that my dog was the chief suspect in this investigation.
“Yes, she did poop,” the officer replied.
“No, she didn’t. I’ve been with her the entire time. She definitely did not poop,” I firmly told him.
“Can you come with me?” he said.
He led me back in the general direction from which I came, to a spot on the grass where I had not been, and neither had Betsy. Sure enough, there was a little pile of dogshit.
By this time, two other men appeared, who were apparently in on this operation. All three of them were wearing plainclothes, so it was clear they were on some kind of serious undercover mission to find Tel Aviv’s most dangerous residents.
I then had to start holding back my laughter. Here I was, standing in a circle with three men, all of us looking down at an unidentified pile of dogshit, and arguing as to whom the shit belonged.
How I Know it Wasn’t My Dog’s Poop:
1. She didn’t poop yet. It takes her about 20 seconds to pick a spot, circle around it, get into proper squatting position and get her business done. I did not black-out and stare into the sky for a full 20 seconds while my small and energetic dog was running free inside a busy, rush-hour boulevard in central Tel Aviv.
2. It was very dark brown, almost black. Betsy’s poop is always light brown. ALWAYS.
3. It was totally solid. I had been feeding Betsy antibiotics all week, by placing a pill inside her wet food every meal. Therefore, she had not taken a solid shit in about a week. I was prepared to provide her medical records to prove this fact.
4. The poop was cold. I know this from when I cleaned it up with the plastic bag I had on me. When I pointed this fact out to the three gentleman, one of them touched the bag of poop with his hand to confirm my statement that it was cold. This gesture confirmed to me that these three guys were lying about having seen Betsy poop; why would anyone voluntarily feel a bag of dog poop in order to evaluate its temperature, if he was so sure as to the exact time of the deposit?
They could have just written me up for letting my dog off her leash. I wouldn’t be able to deny that fact. I guess it’s a higher honor to catch a poop-and-run convict. But it would have saved everyone about 20 minutes of arguing about dog poop at 10 am before work. Oh wait – these men were working!
Then came the official paperwork. I was asked for my Israeli ID number, which I do not know by heart. So they got it from scanning Betsy who was of course, very excited from all the attention and was licking the officer’s hands as he was trying to locate her chip which included my information. Sure enough, it beeped and they had my name, address and ID number.
As the main officer wrote down my information, I continued to deny that it was Betsy’s poop. I had a plastic bag in my hand, so clearly I was ready and willing to take responsibility and clean up. They said they believed me that I had intended to clean up, but that I wasn’t paying attention, and she wasn’t on her leash so I missed it.
One of the other officers took pity on me as I was clearly starting to become more visibly agitated. “Don’t take it so hard – if you’ve never had a ticket before, you can argue it down to a warning. You won’t have to pay anything.” Thank you, kind sir.
They presented me with a ticket for 475 shekels (about $130). I was pretty stoked that my status as an illegal alien didn’t seem to appear on the scanner of what I assume held state-of-the-art technology.
The “Falling Action”
As Betsy and I walked home, she stopped on the side of a small street – and pooped.
I thought about taking a photo, but my phone wasn’t on me. I considered picking it up and bringing it to the officers as evidence (do you poop twice within 10 minutes?).
In the end, I decided to just leave it there.