MONTCLARION: February 18, 2011
Animals — they can be our best friends or our worst enemies.
When I was in high school, a neighborhood dog bit my finger. It was a deep, gaping wound that still gives me trouble today. How did it happen? The dog I was walking was attacked by an aggressive animal — and I tried to protect him.
Fast-forward to today and an incident that’s been making headlines in the hills. Two rescue pit bulls that killed an elderly woman’s Shih Tzu are still living with their owners near Broadway Terrace and Pinewood. Neighbors are outraged and are urging the city to act.
“Since this has happened, we’ve gotten attack stories from all over Montclair,” says Rebecca Faiola, who wants a vicious dog law with more “teeth” in this town. To that end, she’s creating an organization to push for tougher laws against dogs with a history of violent behavior.
Meanwhile in Terrace Hills, where the pit bull attack occurred, some families have taken to carrying mace, wasp spray and baseball bats on their walks. Failoa says this is not acceptable.
“We will not stand by and relinquish our safe neighborhood to fear,” she said.
BIRD BANTER: It may take awhile, but hills homeowner George Troy is trying to teach a couple of raucous ravens to quote Edgar Allen Poe. The fine-feathered fellows come to eat every afternoon on Troy’s deck, where he lays out a spread of chicken backs and other assorted
goodies. “They recognize me and my car and have even followed me down the hill for coffee,” he says, adding that they are really smart — right up there with dolphins and chimps.
As for the language lessons — he says there are many accounts of ravens talking and imitating sounds that amuse them. “I have heard them barking like a dog,” he says, and “have been trying to teach my birds to go Ha Ha Ha Ha.”
AROUND TOWN: Crimes of opportunity continue to make news in the hills. There have been several incidents lately in which women leaving Montclair grocery stores have been followed home and robbed.
“My understanding is that these are not burglaries, but rather robberies, where the victims get their purses snatched or wallets taken upon reaching home and exiting their cars,” says Councilmember Libby Schaaf in response to concerns on the Montclair Safety & Improvement Council webpage.
The thieves use a lookout in the parking lot and a driver waiting in a vehicle. It’s an age-old crime that can only be solved by all of us being more aware of our surroundings and reporting suspicious activity and vehicles.
In this case, police are looking for a white Ford Bronco with a female driver and a male who works outside the car to identify victims.
Speaking of crime, Montclair has a new problem-solving officer named Trent Thompson, who’ll use the Village as his base for Beat 13 (the Oakland hills).
If you have an emergency call, dial 9-1-1 from a landline or 510-777-3211 from your cell phone. Officer Thompson and and his colleague, Officer Miller, have police radios, so they’ll respond to the call if they’re in the area.
E-MAIL BAG: And finally, the Town Crier has been vindicated for taking a stand against wimpy weather in Oakland. At least two readers agree with my feeling that winter should be winter — with cloudy, spritzing skies and frost warnings and weeks on end without seeing the sun. Then there should be a gradual warming toward spring, giving us time to shed winter fat and fit comfortably into shorts and swimwear.