Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Man's Best Friend or City's Favorite Scapegoat?

It has often been pointed out that dog is God spelled backward and vice versa. Will Rogers once opined, "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Thirty-two of the forty-four presidents of the United States had dogs, and all but George Washington's seven dogs lived in the White House. (The executive mansion had not yet been completed when Washington was President.) Dogs are held in high regard in this country but not in Hudson--at least not by some.

One of the misanthropes when it comes to dogs is Glenn Martin, former chief of the Hudson Police Department who retired in 2000 under a cloud, after being accused of falsifying department records by indicating on his activity sheets that he had been working in the police station when he was in fact somewhere else. At the end of last night's Common Council meeting, Martin, identifying himself as a taxpayer and a "person of faith," declared that he was "disturbed" by what happened in the Common Council. He soon segued to his real topic: dogs in the cemetery--indeed dogs anywhere in Hudson. He outed himself as a reader of The Gossips of Rivertown and a lurker on the Hudson Community Board Facebook page by complaining about what he called "Where's Waldo?" games in the cemetery and railing against the prospect of people visiting the cemetery, which he called "hallowed ground," to view the funerary art found therein.

Martin mentioned with indignation the spoof "Wanted" posters that appeared on Facebook and Gossips last week in the wake of the mayor's ban on dogs in the cemetery and expressed outrage that someone would admit to training for marathons by running with her dog in the cemetery. 

In addition to wanting dogs and people who had no loved ones buried in the cemetery banned from that sacred place, Martin seemed intent on nipping the dog park initiative in the bud. He distributed information to the aldermen and urged them to consider the danger "for people and the community" of having a dog park. He also claimed that only 1 percent of the people in Hudson owned dogs, presumably trying to make a connection between the "elitist" dog owners of Hudson and the super rich in America, and intimated that a dog park should not be created to serve such a small percentage of the population.

Mayor William Hallenbeck then rose to "echo Mr. Martin's sentiments." Hallenbeck's comments though were limited to dogs in the cemetery. He wanted to know why the five people who appeared in a picture posted on Facebook, posing with their dogs in the cemetery, with the mayor's house in the background, were not there at the meeting. Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward) responded, "They don't have to be. We represent them."

Hallenbeck reported that Gail Grandinetti, who works in the cemetery office, told him a family, after purchasing their sixth plot, returned to the office to complain that they had seen feces, presumably dog feces, on their loved ones' graves.

Responding to the mayor, Friedman argued that the real problems in the cemetery were not dogs and their alleged desecration of graves but crumbling and toppled tombstones, dying and badly pruned trees, and people who drive too fast through the cemetery, exceeding the 12 mile an hour limit. He took issue with Martin's claim that the cemetery was sacred and hallowed ground, asserting that Cedar Park and the Hudson City Cemetery were public cemeteries. His frustration mounting, Friedman concluded, "Stupid Council, stupid town government." At some point during Friedman's polemic, Martin stormed out of the room.

Gossips Note: What Gossips heard Friedman say was, "Stupid Council, stupid town." Since this post was published, Friedman has informed Gossips that what he actually said was, "Stupid Council, stupid town government." Consequently the post has been edited to include the word government.  


  1. I'm the guilty party. I run through the cemetery. Gasp. I raised over 5000.00 for the leukemia society running those marathons. I am an honest person. I love and respect the cemetery. How about you Mr. Martin?

  2. Where does this Glenn Martin person get his data?? Did he have some source to back up his 1% claim? In my neighborhood alone there are a DOZEN DOGS that I have counted. That's quite a number of dogs in a small area.

  3. I think Mr. Martin has an unnatural obsession with death. Regarding the Cemetery he thinks you should. A. be dead, or B. be visiting someone who is dead, or C. playing dead and not go out with friends or mans best friend on a beautiful day for a walk in the a park. Cedar park / Hudson Cemetary is Hudson's only real choice if one want's to walk with out breathing car exhaust. It is a beautiful park in part because it was designed to be beautiful park where people could go walking, see the duck pond, picnic by the water reservoir and get some fresh air. How many people know there is still a wading pool at the north west corner of the Cemetery? Sorry Martin but life is for the living and walking in the cemetery and reading the headstones is a great way to remind oneself to spend it wisely. Just live and let live.

  4. I'd say Mr. Martin is out of touch. I'd put the number of dog owners at more like 50% ( in my neighborhood ) with another 10% bemoaning the fact that they can't have a dog in such a dog unfriendly setting. Both dogs and people get unhappy and unhealthy if they can't stretch their legs.

  5. My husband's family has old photos of their relatives having picnics in the cemetery amid the gravestones at Cedar Park. It's a beautiful historically rich place to be. My family has many relatives buried there and I for one have no issue with life happening around their resting places.

    1. Lisa--I would love to publish one of those pictures on Gossips. Is there any chance you could send me a scan of one of them?

    2. The only relative on that side of the family who would have them is in Massachusetts but I will be sure to ask her!

  6. I suppose I need to amend my will to put the public on notice that I'm OK with dogs pooping on my grave.

    There is a difference between letting your dog run free in a cemetery and allowing it to relieve itself on headstones and walking through it quietly for exercise or for general pleasure. My dog visits Martin Van Buren's gravesite often and leaves no trace but a few sniffs and paw prints.

    Hudson needs more Friedmans and less Martins. I'll reconsider moving there once the old boy's club moves on.

  7. "Stupid Council, stupid town." ..Well said! My wife and I laughed out loud.

  8. Thank you to John Friedman. And I agree completely with needing less Martins and for that matter, less Hallenbecks

  9. Every 19c picturesque cemetery I've checked -- including Bellefontaine in St. Louis where my family is buried -- allows dogs as long as they're on a leash. That sounds reasonable to me.

  10. Well some of the citizens of Hudson just might enjoy taking a walk in Hudson's largest green space.
    Dare I say most quiet area too?
    All the other poop comes down to respect for others & common sense.
    Wow. For such a small city, we sure do have major issues about EVERYTHING.
    Gee, what ever happened to those vagabonds going to school at 4th & Warren? Is all that hub-bub over from all the "chicken littles" or did I miss the news of shootings, robberies, altercations on Warren near 4th?
    Guess not, more store fronts are being completed on Warren & another relocating next to the Alternative School.
    Meaning, could you please walk your dog on a leash & pick up after it & be considerate where it lifts it leg or squats & move on. J,M&J.
    Whew, feel much better now that I vented. Meow.

  11. Those kids are going to school and stretching their limbs with VIRTUAL athletics