Notes From The Trail Of A North County Shaggy Dog Story

Route 2 A Weekly journey through Anne Arundel County

October 16, 1991|By Robert Lee JoAnna Daemmrich

IT'D BEEN ONE OF THOSE DAYS — three hours at a Greater Severna Park Council meeting and the only thing they'd agreed to do was send a letter thanking the Kiwanis for keeping such a lovely flower box at the post office.

I needed a story badly.

Just then an editor called me over.

"Here, this is something,"he said, handing me a tip about some sad pup who had died slowly andignominiously on the side of Fort Smallwood Road while thousands of calloused motorists zoomed by. For three days and three nights it suffered -- barely able to raise its head -- just sort of swaying pathetically until Wednesday morning, when it joined the ranks of road kill.

The tragic thing was some lady had been calling Animal Control all week to get them to do something about this, but they kept giving her some lame excuse about not being able to find it.

"And if it isn't something, we can probably make something out of it," the editorsaid, handing me the phone number of the woman, who, fed up with theinaction and bungling bureaucrats, decided to go straight to the scandal sheet.

The lady said she had first seen the pooch Sunday night. It was a black, curly haired, medium- to large-sized dog. She swore she saw its head waving, its little tongue hanging out -- and she was sure she could see a collar. Somebody somewhere loved this dog.

Monday morning, after a cold night, she saw the same black curly haired dog again -- this time with its doggie paws up in the air waving around. She could tell it was still alive, just barely.

She calledAnimal Control. They said they'd be out there right away.

But Tuesday she saw the same black curly haired dog slumped over on its tummy. It looked like curtains for Rover Doe.

Furious, she called Animal Control again and again. They said they couldn't find it.

"It'snot like it's in some ditch, it's right there on the eastern side ofFort Smallwood Road, just south of Solley Road!" Her directions wereclear as day.

Wednesday she saw the black curly haired dog again,clearly decomposing -- an ex-Rex -- so she called us to get an ace reporter right on it.

Didn't I feel dumb, though, when I couldn't find it either. No black curly haired dog. Just an old tire and a big ball of yarn. Black yarn. Black curly yarn. Hmmmm.

I called my inside man at Animal Control.

"Yeah," he said, "some lady's been giving me hell all week over a big ball of black string! I see things too, sometimes."

The road-kill dispatcher said a cop had even called,thinking the fuzz was a Fido.

"The driver doesn't want to take it'cause it's not an animal, but jeez, I'll go out and pick it up myself if that's what it takes to stop her."

TAKING THE LONG WAY ROUND

It was a perfect, crisp October day, and a group of us decided to walk to lunch. With our eyes fixed on the prize -- a banquet at Marley Station's food court -- we headed down the B & A Trail.

As we walked along, cyclists kept swishing past us. The serious ones, sporting biking tights and helmets, sped by on expensive mountain bikes. Mothers and children pedaled quietly down the trail. Seniors puffed along.

But none came through the gate at Fox Chase, an upscale communityjust off the trail in Millersville. The gate was still bolted shut.

Frustrated by a steady stream of cyclists passing through their quiet neighborhood, Fox Chase residents closed their entrance to the trail last August and later padlocked the gate.

The move infuriated bicyclists from surrounding neighborhoods,who used the gate as a shortcut to avoid riding two miles along busy streets to the nearest public entrance.

When developer Leonard J. Attman submitted plans to expand the Fox Chase community five-fold, residents of most of the Millersville neighborhoods were worried about just one thing -- getting another entrance to the trail. But nothing much changed in the last year. The gate stayed closed, another entrance wasn't built, and the most determined people started to drag their bikes down a hill just past Fox Chase.

Now, the county is considering another option -- leveling the hill for the cyclists. Councilman Edward Middlebrooks, D-Glen Burnie, and other county officials met with the residents a coupleof weeks ago to discuss smoothing out the hill and pouring down a gravel path for the bikers.

"What we're trying to do is knock that hill down and put some gravel down to take care of the problem," Middlebrooks said.

It's a solution, but it sure took a few roundabout twists and turns.

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