Springfield, MO

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Rusty Saber

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by Joe McAdoo

Property owners know that keeping trespassers off of their land is a never- ending battle. Respect for property rights doesn't appear to be a high priority item for many, except, of course, for property owners.

Trespassers will climb over a fence with a No Trespassing sign attached as if it wasn't there. Lately, hunters have contended that if hunting dogs chase their prey onto private property, it's okay for them and the dogs to go on the land. I don't know where in the Constitution this right is guaranteed.

No Trespassing and Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted don't seem to keep private property private. I have heard of signs reading Trespassers Will Be Persecuted, but I don't suppose that works either.

On the National Public Radio program "Car Talk," "Click" or "Clack" (I never know which is which) told about a new sign informing trespassers that guard dogs were patrolling the property, and that "survivors would be prosecuted."

It occurs to me that a market exists for signs such as this, ones appealing to trespassers' desire to survive. I have a few suggestions. (Of course I do, otherwise I have no column this week.)

First, a category of signs to appeal to the basic desire of some to go on breathing. Among them:

?Rottweiler Training Center

?Alligator Breeding Farm Watch Your Step

?Owner Not Responsible For Irresponsible Pit Bulls

?Cobra Venom Ranch. In Case Of Cobra Bite, Call 911 Immediately. No Public Telephone Available.

?Mike Tyson Ear-Biting Training Center

?Skeet-Shooting Range For The Visually Impaired

?Green Beret/Navy SEALS War Games In Progress

?Notice!! This Property Is No Longer A Nuclear Waste Dumping Site By Order Of The Atomic Energy Commission

?African Wild Lion Ranch

?Rehabilitation Center For NFL Football Players Too Violent To Compete Against "Normal" Players. Enter At Your Own Risk.

Another category of No Trespassing signs includes religious themes:

?Trespassers Will Be Trespassed Against

?An Eye For An Eye Estates

?Vengeance Is Mine, Sayeth The Owner Of This Land

?Owner Does Not Turn Other Cheek

?Climbing Over The Fence Means Ye Have Asked For It And Ye Shall Receive.

Trespassers who can read may appreciate signs with a literary bent:

?You Shall Not Pass This Way Again Count On It

?Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

?Hunters Passing This Point Become The Hunted

?I Will Shoot An Arrow Into The Air, Where It Lands You Will Know Where.

That's it for No Trespassing signs. Since a little space remains, I will use it to remind you poets and would-be poets to enter the Rusty Limerick Contest. Send your original limericks to Rusty Limericks, Springfield Business Journal, PO Box 1365, Springfield, Mo. 65801; or fax them to 831-5478.

(Joe McAdoo is former chairman of the communication department at Drury College and a Springfield public relations consultant.)

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