[Warning - talk of self harm in this post]
Sorry this might be a bit of a rant and probably a really long post but my head is going crazy and I’m still shaking and crying. Today has been a day from hell and the pressure cooker lid finally blew off. It started off when I got up this morning and there was a letter there for me from the housing association from whom I rent my flat. They sent everyone a letter a couple of weeks ago saying there was evidence of dog fouling in the communal garden area and that they were going through a “process of elimination in order to find out who was responsible”. Out of the 12 flats in my block there are only four dog owners so I threw the letter in the bin and didn’t think any more about it knowing that I wasn’t responsible.
Until I got the letter this morning. The letter says:
After a process of elimination I am led to believe that you are allowing your 2 dogs to foul in the communal areas at [my address]. Please note that dog fouling is an offence and, as a responsible owner, you can be prosecuted. The Dog Fouling Act makes it an offence for a person in charge of a dog who fails to immediately remove the faeces the dog makes guilty of an offence under the Act. The offence carries a fixed penalty fine of £40 rising to £500.
Nasty Housing Association Woman.
I sat there reading it and burst into tears. Why the fuck am I being blamed for it? And it’s most definitely aimed at me as I’m the only person who has 2 dogs. I kept reading those words “process of elimination” and “led to believe you are…” and got so anxious. All I could think was that everyone in all the other flats must have been talking about me. Then I remembered back to a few weeks ago and all I could think about was this little ball thing that had appeared on the ceiling, just next to where the door is that opens into the communal area, I even pointed it out to my Mum and asked her what she thought it was. I said to her that I thought it was a camera spying on who was coming in and out of that door and it made me feel really paranoid every time I had to go past it to put my rubbish out. Mum said that as it was outside an elderly disabled man’s house it was maybe some sort of sensor if he had one of those personal alarm things. She told me I was just being paranoid. So I tried to believe her and then after a few days I noticed it had disappeared again so I just kinda forgot about it.
But when I got the letter today the same question kept going round and round in my mind. What was this “process of elimination” they had used? It couldn’t have been by going round and talking to each resident one by one because they never came to speak to me. And the whole thing feels horribly personal because my dogs are my babies and if anyone says anything bad about them I do get offended (and angry)
So I kept thinking back to that thing on the ceiling and tried typing into google phrases like “ceiling cameras” “ball shaped cameras” etc until I finally found a whole page of what I was looking for. Dome cameras they are apparently called and they look like this:
You can see the camera inside that one but because it was on the ceiling and the ceilings are around 10 feet high it just looked like a little dark ball thing. So now I am convinced that they secretly filmed everyone coming in and out of the communal area for a while and I do use that door quite a lot because it leads to a little path that is a short cut to the shops. Have they been filming me, spying on me, watching me, talking about me? Have I been the person (with dogs) who has come in and out of that door the most? I don’t know. I took some Diazepam because I was getting myself into a real mess and then composed an email to the person who sent me the letter. This is the email that I sent:
Dear [nasty woman who made me cry]I’ve just received your letter about dog fouling at [my address]. You say in this letter that after a “process of elimination” you believe that I am responsible for allowing my two little dogs to “foul the communal areas”. I am sitting here in tears with anger as quite simply you are putting the blame onto me for something I haven’t even done.[A ramble about the other dog owning neighbours who could be responsible but it goes on for about 1000 words then ends with...]I have lived in this flat for over six years and in that time there have been many letters about dog fouling, people dumping rubbish and furniture and stuff and I can assure you that I am well aware of all of the rules. I am an honest person and if I was responsible I would be emailing you just now to apologise and assure you it wouldn’t happen again. But I am not the person responsible and your letter has now made me incredibly anxious that if future dog fouling is discovered then I am going to be the person blamed. You already know from previous emails (when I was making my application for a housing transfer) that I suffer from severe mental health problems and receiving a letter telling me that I’m responsible for something that I could be prosecuted for, has left me in quite an emotional mess.I’m sorry this email is so long but I want to know (a) how you reached the decision that I was responsible (b) if there is further dog fouling in the future will I automatically be blamed? and (c) how do I prove to you that I am not the person responsible for this?Thank you,MCBL
By the time it got to about 3pm I was just a mess. I kept bursting into tears, cuddling my little dogs and telling them that they were still my babies even if nasty housing woman is saying bad things about them, the paranoid thoughts that they have been filming me and talking about me were spinning round and round and round…and… I just lost it.