Barking Dogs, Broken Doorbells

When people ask me if I’m crazy, I shrug and say, “It runs in the family”. Usually, the question is preceded by “What do you do for a living?” and my answer, “I’m a process server”.

People don’t know what that means, so I’ll explain. You might be familiar with the phrase, “You’ve been served”. Folks associate process servers with being handed divorce papers, as well, but that isn’t all process servers do. I have been doing this work for a couple years now and have yet to serve divorce papers or say, “You’ve been served”.

Excerpt from the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

…”nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;…”

‘Due process of law’ are the key words there. One step of due process is that you have to be notified. Example: Person uses a credit card. Person does not pay the credit card company for what is essentially borrowed money. The company tells the court they want to sue for the money. I get hired to hand the suee… um… I’ll use the legal term, respondent, otherwise the pigs will be showing up soon. I hand the respondent official notification that they are being sued, by whom and why the company thinks they have the right to sue the person.

And you thought the Fifth Amendment only applied to staying out of prison.

An attorney or the plaintiff files the papers with the court. Process Servers are paid by the Plaintiff and are required to have nothing to do with the case. We are just the messenger. So if you get sued, please just take the papers and don’t yell, threaten or harm us. We don’t need the drama and it makes us remember you and tell stories about you on our blogs.

Serving a person involves going to the respondent’s home or work and handing the paper to them or to someone else approved by law. What this means to me, is that I do a lot of driving around and knocking on doors in good and bad neighborhoods, but mostly bad. That is why people ask me if I’m crazy.

This leads me to the title of this piece. Barking dogs and broken doorbells are an everyday part of life for me. I would hazard a guess that at least two thirds of the doorbells I push, don’t work. When I don’t get a response to the bell, I knock, which promptly causes the dogs to bark. As a cat person, I don’t like dogs all that much. As a process server, I really don’t like dogs.

Caution Killer sheltie on duty

This is not a good sign.

I have yet to get bitten by one while working. I say ‘yet’ because it is a matter of time. I have had a few keep me from knocking on the door because they were in the yard and not even remotely friendly. I will brave some dogs, even if they act mean, such as the little ankle-biter Pug dog. Nothing that snuffles will ever scare me.

On the other hand, the couple with the two very vocal and aggressive pit bulls did not get the door knocked on. I didn’t even touch the gate and I kept picturing one coming over the fence. It wasn’t tall enough for my comfort. The people came out to investigate why the dogs had been barking for ten minutes and I got to talk to them then.

Dogs are just one of many hazards in the not-so-glamorous life of a process server. In following posts, I will address some of those hazards and complications and ways I deal with them.

If you are a process server you might learn something that saves you some trouble later. If you are a judge or an attorney please note that our job is not just knocking on doors. There is a whole lot more to it. Just like your job isn’t just showing up in court.

Please feel free to comment with your own stories.

Thanks for the read.

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