A CAUTIONARY TAIL, PART 2

Readers respond to Ken Hoffman's dog park debacle

Photo by Jacob Power

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about my dog Sally being attacked by three dogs (one owner) at Officer Lucy Dog Park in Bellaire. Admittedly, I was furious when I wrote the column. I am still furious. Despite a big sign with a long list of safety rules, this one person was allowed to bring his three big, violent dogs into that dog park. I managed to get my dog (and me) out of the park safely.

During our ensuing shouting, the owner of the other dogs told me, "I was here first" and "If you don't like it, don't bring your dog in here." The owner was right about one thing. I didn't like it, and I won't bring my dog there.

In fact, I won't bring my dog to any public dog park where there is no supervision, no assurance that vicious and sick dogs aren't present. It's just not worth the risk.

Dog park danger

It turns out, I did the smart thing. I did not confront the other dog owner. I called the Bellaire cops. Three officers, plus the city's animal control officer, arrived within 10 minutes. They talked to the owner of the vicious dogs, and he left. The police now have a report with information about this person and his dogs.

In Texas, if a dog harms another dog, the owner could be responsible for the vet bills resulting from his dog attacking another dog. If the owner's dog kills another dog, the owner could be responsible for replacing the dead dog. Yeah, that would make everything okay. Your dog killed my dog, my best friend, the dog I loved like there's no tomorrow … but you're going to give me $50 to get another one?

If that owner's dogs had killed Sally that day, I would have spent that night in jail.

Readers respond

Reader reaction to my column surprised me. I understand that people are passionate about their dogs (nobody more than me) and dog parks are popular. I expected to hear strong defenses of dog parks. That was not the case. Here are some of the responses I received.

  • "My dog also got attacked at the gate of Officer Lucy Dog Park; a pit bull grabbed him by the throat, tearing the skin and requiring stitches."
  • "At the very least, they'll get loaded with fleas."
  • "My dog was attacked twice at a dog park. I was frightened my dog would get killed. No more."
  • "Dog parks harbor disease, excrement, vicious dogs, and a-hole owners. We would never take our sweet girl to one."
  • "I think they are great. I wish people would bring their dogs there and not to restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and other places that are intended for humans."
  • "We used to go to dog parks all the time, but then our dog was attacked. I overheard the owner say after we pulled his dog off mine, 'He always does this.' My dog ended up with a $800 medical bill."
  • "Do not confront the bad dog owner — you and your dog could wind up sharing a hospital room."
  • "Come to Eadog Park. We are all a family and are familiar with everyone's dog. If anyone's dog acts up, we ask them to kindly leave. We don't tolerate that behavior."

Continue on CultureMap to read about the aftermath.


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Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

I have been creating long distance walking tours in Houston since 2016. One thing, I learned quickly is that I better be curious and ready to learn….ALOT. It has been a wonderful ride. Here are a few things that you probably didn't know about Houston.

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Scandal of Rice University

Rice University is known as the Ivy League of Houston. But, I bet you didn't know that it almost did not exist. William Marsh Rice made his fortune in Houston. With a net worth of $3 million, he was the second richest man in Texas. He wanted to give back by opening a university here. This is where it gets interesting. His lawyer, Albert T. Patrick decided that he deserved the money more. He and Rice's valet, Charles F. Jones, murdered Rice using chloroform. Patrick wrote a series of forged checks to himself to acquire the fortune. They would have gotten away with it, but, one of the checks had Rice's name misspelled. Houston thanks the Rice's trusted friend and lawyer, James Baker for not letting sleeping dogs lie. Not only do we have an amazing university, but Houston Tourism Gym has some great tours starting at Rice University.

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Secret Bubble Button of Buffalo Bayou

Many people have heard of the secret bubble button of Buffalo Bayou. Few know where it actually is. You can find this urban legend on the Mosbacher Bridge before you get to the Wortham Center. What will happen if you push this button? A massive bubble display will appear in Buffalo Bayou beneath the bridge. How did it get there? This secret attraction was installed by artist Dean Ruck to help churn the bayou and keep it oxygenated. This helps to control foul odors in the bayou. Press here to see the Secret Bubble Button in action. Unfortunately, the button had to be disabled during Hurricane Harvey and has yet to be reactivated.

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Market Square Park was home to not ONE, but FOUR City Halls.

Four score and only a couple hundred years ago. Okay 1836. Market Square Park was actually home to city hall and an open market that sold goods that arrived from Allen's Landing, where the Allen Brothers founded Houston. You could buy meat, firearms, produce, and animals at the market. Due to storms and fires, city hall had to be rebuilt four times until finally it was moved to 901 Bagby St.

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Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine.

We have all had the light and tasty Kolsch by Karbach called Love Street. The real Love Street was a psychedelic club called Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine. None other than David Adickes (artist of Virtuoso and the I Love Houston Sign) was the owner. Love Street showed light shows in the Zonk Out room and featured a number of psychedelic bands from the 60's. Another cool fact is Love Street was one of the first places that ZZ Top performed.

When you are out and about, take time to stop and ask a few questions. This way you not only learn about the beautiful city that we call home, but you get to know some of the amazing people that make Houston feel like home!

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