Support for Terrence Connor

A partner at Hunton & Williams, Terrence Connor, was arrested for pepper spraying his neighbor’s dogs. The dogs belong to University of Miami Student Andrea Lopez, who lives next door to Connor. (source)

Connor says that the dogs bark constantly and the police do nothing about the disturbance. He’s tried calling the police, tried spraying water on them, and now finally broke down and pepper sprayed them. The police responded by arresting him on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty. (police report)

Naturally, most of the press and blogosphere is piling on Connor’s ass about this. I have his back though. (It was a bit assholish of him to play the “do you know who I am?” card though).

Have you ever lived next door to a yippy dog? How about two of the fucking things? Sure, I understand that it is not the dog’s fault that the owner is an irresponsible piece of shit who thinks there is nothing wrong with letting her dogs bark to the point that it annoys her neighbors. A certain percentage of dog owners are like that. If you dare to criticize them for failing to train their dogs, they take it like you just said that their children should be dragged out into the street and shot.

Hell, even PETA thinks you shouldn’t leave your animals in the yard unattended:

“We’ll watch for the outcome of this case but we’d like remind dog owners not to leave their pets unattended outdoors, even in a fenced yard. Keep animals indoors unless they are supervised at all times. Dogs are like small children.”(source)

If you screamed at the top of your lungs in your yard 50 times a day, the cops would eventually arrest you. If you were cranking music at the same sound and frequency of a dog’s bark, you’d get a ticket. But, in most police departments, barking dogs are not exactly a priority to them — despite the fact that having a yapping dog next door to you is hardly a “victimless crime.” See Barkingdogs.net.. Hell, even dogs don’t like the sound of other dogs barking all the time. (source)

There are methods for owners to deal with barking dogs. Training them might be nice. There are collars that administer a small shock (sorta like when you touch metal after scuffing the carpet), collars that spray out citronella (which dogs hate), or you can have the vocal cords cut. Yeah, you might not like some of those options, but I’m sure that this guy does’t like the fact that he has to live next to some self-absorbed fucking asshole who believes that she not only owns her own house, but the airspace of all the houses around her.

A Florida Court dealt with this very issue. Knecht v. Katz, 785 So. 2d 754 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001)

Appellees sought injunctive relieve in regard to appellants’ Great Pyrenees’ constant barking while it was permitted to remain outside appellants’ home. Appellees’ request was to enjoin appellants from maintaining the dog on their property “in such manner as to create noise sufficient to impair Plaintiffs’ peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their property.” Instead, the trial court gave appellants 30 days to remove the dog from their premises. We agree with appellants that the court went too far. In addition, it granted a remedy not sought by appellees. Appellees never complained that the dog disturbed them when it was within appellants’ home. Some barking must be expected from dogs. Before appellants can be judicially required to remove their dog from their premises, they should be given the opportunity to cure the problem which disturbed appellees. The dog should not be permitted to remain outdoors unattended so that continuous barking might disturb the neighbors. However, if keeping the dog indoors or bringing the dog indoors when it starts barking will cure the problem, the injunction should go no further.

So it isn’t as if there is no legal remedy. Of course, getting that remedy could take months or even years. In the meantime, Connor has to live next to this annoying yapping.

The fact is, all of this could have likely been avoided had the police ever simply issued a $100 citation to the dog owner. It is amazing how “I can’t do anything about it” turns into motivation to actually do something about it when money is at stake. Mr. Connor had a right to the quiet enjoyment of his home. Ms. Lopez is the instigator here. Maybe Connor shouldn’t have pepper sprayed the dogs. Maybe he should have used his law degree and filed for an injunction. But, perhaps a little non-toxic, non-permanent pepper spray on the precious little dogs would get the point across. Personally, I think that he should have fed them laxatives so they shit all over her house.

I hope that Mr. Connor not only beats the charges against him, but that he files suit and gets an injunction so that he can live peacefully.

20 Responses to Support for Terrence Connor

  1. Jay Wolman says:

    If it is animal cruelty to use pepper spray, how is it lawful for the police to use it?

    • Jay, that’s an excellent point. Funny how it is ok to pepper spray a non-compliant human, but if you pepper spray a non-compliant animal, well that’s a crime.

  2. Dan says:

    is it reasonable to expect that any court will grant him injunctive relief now that he has taken steps on his own? seems like he already blew one of the tests.

    I did not know that dogs hate citronella. maybe he should load up a super soaker with citronella instead of wasting valuable pepper on something other than a steak?

    I hate yapping dogs as much as anyone (and ive got one next to me lately). But i figure a partner-level lawyer could have should have found other recourse first.

    • splifton says:

      +1

      Maybe this douche should have invested the $50 in one of these devices before he went and sprayed a defenseless animal…

      Hopefully his punishment will involve some kind of Pepper Spray to the Face…

      • Dan says:

        w.r.t to the `defenceless animal`argument it is true the animal is not the problem but by letting the pet owner hide behind it you set up a very bad situation.

      • Sam says:

        I have one of those. They don’t work well unless the animal is close to it with a clear line of sight. Even then, they are hit and miss.

  3. J DeVoy says:

    Is there a way to donate to his legal defense fund?

  4. blueollie says:

    Around here, they fine the owner.

  5. Justin T. says:

    Having dogs that bark all the time unabated is a really good way to ensure that your dogs mysteriously disappear one day when you’re not watching them. The owner is lucky the guy only pepper sprayed them. Personally I feel that if your neighbor is making your house unlivable, you have the right to do the same to them. In the past I’ve had neighbors who played loud music late into the night, and I’ve found that confronting them about it by knocking on their door very loudly at 5am until they get up to talk to you is an effective means of sending the message that you really don’t want to get into an asshole contest, because I swing for the fence.

  6. bill says:

    The puzzling thing about this case is that as a lawyer, Connor knew full well what his options were.

    A couple of calls to the police would have solved the problem.

    If that didn’t do it, a letter on his firm’s letterhead to Coral Gables code enforcement might have done the trick. (Coral Gables has some of the strictest codes in the county. You can’t even park a pick up truck in your driveway overnight if it has signage.)

    But, he took the stupid way out. God only knows why.

  7. jdgalt says:

    Too bad he didn’t just toss the dogs some poison.

  8. oygavolt says:

    The man is a horrible human being, not the family man he tries to portray. He has shown his true colors. Read the police report. Disgusting.

  9. roadgeek6570 says:

    I’ve never had this particular problem, but I’ve gamed out the scenario for the future; I would simply poison the dogs. Paying the fine is cheap in exchange for being able to sleep at night. I live in a city with ineffectual animal control ordinance enforcement, so I wouldn’t even notify the city first; I’d simply administer my own form of justice.

  10. Scarecrow says:

    I’m trying to live through something like this now but much worse.

    Police are of little help. You never can tell what kind of cop you’ll get. A lot of them view these issues as unimportant and at the most just give the offending owner what doesn’t even amount to a warning. Since they don’t help you and you continue to call over time you become the problem. It took ages just to get one neighbor somewhat busted. We actually have laws and ordinances here but with no enforcement they amount to nothing. Animal control has no interest in enforcement. They are merely a town subsidized animal rescue group in uniforms.

    The owners attitude is always one of “make me”. So now you have to chase them. Even if you went and talked to them politely it’s usually of no use. The authorities will always ask if you tried but it’s all BS. Everytime the owner has been some asshole who you have little chance of settling things with. Then you go to the cops and say you tried but the owner was a weirdo or dangerous they advise that you should’t interact with them again. Thanks a lot.

    It just goes on and on. The only thing that seems to have gotten their attention is threat of a lawsuit. Hours of video footage of nuisance barking and every other thing my douchebag neighbors have done is of little interest to local authorities. So it’s to the lawyer now. Tax money wasted.

    You could kill their dogs or harm them but the idiot neighbor is still there and can always get more. Now you’re in trouble and all the imbeciles will say what a horrible monster you are. It won’t matter if you’ve been on the straight and narrow all your life. As you get more and more agitated as the days blur by and you can just about barely keep it together through lack of sleep all you want is to get back to square one when you had normal peace and quiet. But what should be simple has turned into a bizarre game that you cannot seem to win where bad dog owners are like a protected class of people. I doesn’t surprise me dogs get poisoned or disappeared.

    Until things change there’s always going to be little news stories here and there of people getting arrested or hurt because some piece of filth thinks their dog is more important than the people who live around them.

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