Suppose, not entirely hypothetically, that you have property on which you don’t want anyone—not even beautiful, harmless mixed Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers—trespassing at night. The property has a fence around part of it, and there are gates in the fence. Now suppose you are a public agency. That last fact helps make sense of the idea that locking the gates during the day will keep people out at night. It also helps make sense of the idea that locking the gates will deter anyone from entering, although only the east, part of the south side and part of the north side are fenced.
Greta and her person, and her friends—three Labrador Retrievers and their person, one English Lab and one Chesapeake Bay Retriever and their person–have a regular morning walk route that leads inside the fence. Until a few weeks ago, we parked in the parking lot, entered through the gate at the edge of the concrete walkway, followed the walkway between the show ring for the annual county fair and the arena that is filled with livestock during the fair. The route then leads down a hill to county government-owned land bisected by a road, and beyond, cornfields and a small woods.
We have been using the route for several years, since it became necessary to keep the dogs out of the pond in the park. They were getting bacterial infections that their veterinarians believe were caused by the polluted water. Tests showed the water is indeed polluted, but meets acceptable levels for a stormwater management pond—not for a dog swimming pond.
Early this month, signs appeared on the gates warning that all gates—“even the small person gates”–would be closed daily at 4:30 p.m. and all visitors must be off the premises by that hour, effective Nov. 15. The gates would open at 7 a.m.
Shortly before the Day of the Lockout, a man whose nametag identified him as Ruben stopped Greta and I as we were returning from our walk.
“We are locking the gates,” he said. “We put up signs.”
I asked why they were locking the gates.
“We don’t want people down there at night,” Ruben replied. “You must wait until I come in the morning to unlock the gates. Then you come in.”
So, in the two weeks since the new security measures went into effect, how has it worked out?
–The dog walkers are inconvenienced, because sometimes Ruben hasn’t opened the only gate he is willing to open. All other gates remain locked day and night.
–The homeless people, who may have been the reason for the lockout, have established a new encampment in the area. They probably entered from an unfenced side.
–The hunter who was sitting there with a rifle one recent day apparently had no problem with the locked gates. He may have entered from an unfenced side.
Please tell me the Agricultural Board receives no direct taxpayer funding.