American Flag Hydrant Removed From Dog Park


When a hydrant with an American flag painted on it was installed in an Oregon dog park, no one thought that there would be public uproar over it.

The fire hydrant at Hondo Dog Park was painted as a tribute to Hondo, a police dog that was killed in a crossfire ten years ago while chasing a suspect.

When some local residents saw pictures of the American flag hydrant in the dog park, they were horrified at the thought of a dog urinating on it.

One resident wrote: “That gallant dog [Hondo] must be turning in his grave at the thought of the flag being desecrated every time a dog pees on that hydrant!”

The fire hydrant sculpture was removed after the park received several complaints of the possibility of dogs urinating on the American flag hydrant. Although park officials said there were no reports of any dogs urinating on the flag-themed hydrant since the park opened September 17.

Park planners did think ahead when they installed the flag hydrant. To deter dogs from urinating on it, they placed the hydrant on an 18-inch-tall base and put “dog-unfriendly” plants around the base — juniper and prickly barberry bushes.

Hillsboro dog officers and the artist who painted the hydrant said it is unfortunate that the hydrant had to be removed because of all of their hard work they did to create a tribute for Hondo.

They hope that people will change their minds when they hear how much the hydrant means to them. One officer said that Hondo did the ultimate sacrifice and deserves a tribute.

Park officials said that they are considering options of what to do with the flag-themed hydrant. They may put up a barrier or put it elsewhere, but regardless, they said it will go somewhere.

Source: The Oregonian

Photo: Associated Press

16 Responses to “American Flag Hydrant Removed From Dog Park”

  1. Bridgett says:

    Sounds like an appropriate tribute to a police dog.

  2. bengals says:

    good grief… like we don’t have enough cr*p to fuss about…

    ok, and burning the American Flag is OK???? I’d rather see a dog pee on this than see someone within the US burning our flag…

  3. Lis says:

    Burning the flag constitutes political speech, which is explicitly protected under the Constitution that the flag is a symbol of. A dog peeing on a hydrant is merely some human’s failure to think things through adequately. Failure to think things through does not have explicit Constitutional protection.

    Since the intent was simply to honor the police dog, and not to make some sort of weird political statement, they’d have been better advised from the beginning to paint something else like a flag. Why did they choose the fire hydrant, anyway? That would make sense if he were a fire house dog, but he wasn’t; he was a police dog. Why not a a red, white, and blue representation of a police car?

    This was just a dumb idea, and it’s not surprising that it came back to bite them.

  4. bengals says:

    whatever Lis — burning the flag is NOT speech.

    in MY opinion, the firehydrant IS a symbol of a dog…as Im sure this police dog was probably a frequent to many firehydrants and is probably why that was chosen to represent…

  5. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    We don’t frequent Dog Parks, for what we assume are pretty obvious reasons.

    But if there is any kind of ‘main entrance’ to the dog area, we think putting the hydrant sculpture somewhere by that entrance would be a reasonable alternative. That way, fans and friends of Hondo would be able to see his memorial when they visit.

    Just a thought.

  6. Lis says:

    So the best symbol of a dog–any dog, including a heroic police dog who died in the line of duty–is something dogs regularly pee on, and therefore painting one of those things like a flag and putting it in a dog park, is respectful of both the flag and the hero dog, but treating the flag like the genuine political symbol it is, and using it with thoughtful intent in something that the Supreme Court, even if not bengals, recognizes as political speech, is not respectful.

    Well, whatever.

  7. bengals says:

    point taken Lis.

    It does look like it’s a tombstone…as it’s sitting up on a cement block — perhaps if they also included a plaque in front of it, it wouldn’t have offended so many.

  8. Moony says:

    Seems to me a more appropriate memorial would have been a German Shepherd (or whichever breed he was) statue, possibly painted the way the hydrant currently is. It wouldn’t even have to be a big one, but perhaps on a pedestal with a plaque.

    Seems to me a hydrant is just asking for people to urge their dogs to pee on it, aside from a dog’s regular urge to pee on just about anything upright. Those ‘deterrent’ kind of bushes never worked on my small dog, who’d just climb right over and crap on top of them.

  9. L.B. says:

    Somehow I can’t see why there has been a public uproar over this, it’s a dog park for God’s sake, the hydrant looks cool to me, and so what if dogs pee on it, that’s what dogs do. (I hope it’s not painted with high-lead paint though!)

    The situation of toxins in our & our pets’ food, consumer products, packaging, and outdated/inaccurate/incompetent testing methods, and corruption on just about every level,… that’s what’s worthy of a public uproar. That’s more of a disgrace to the flag and to America and even to the memory of the police dog, in my opinion, than dogs doing their business on a flag-inspired hydrant.

  10. Lis says:

    L.B., oddly enough, we’re not required to care about just one thing, and caring about more than just one thing doesn’t mean we’re hypocritical or insincere in our concern about the “more important” thing. The amount of national uproar over tainted pet food was pretty impressive, given how the companies and the govt. tried to bury it and the media mostly ignored it, when it was just pet food–and now, as more and more things are being affected, there’s more and more attention being paid.

    But, at the same time, there’s this comparatively small matter of the flag-painted fire hydrant in the dog park, which many people in that area find to be bad symbolism, which five minutes’ thought would have told the park planners would strike many people as bad symbolism, and there’s some uproar over that–a totally local uproar for a totally local issue, getting some non-local attention only because Itchmo picked it up. Shocking! But you know what? Not only does it not mean that all those people nationally who complained abou the pet food don’t really care about the safety of their pets’ food; it doesn’t even mean that the peple in that area, who are complaining about the fire hydrant don’t care about the safety of their pets’ food. It just means they object to that paricular symbolism, which really truly does not seem to me to be particularly respectful of either the hero dog, or the flag.

    “There are more important things to worry about” can be used to disparage almost any public complaint, and it’s nearly always true. Name any other concern you like, and I can trump it by pointing out that, if we don’t do something about the problem of Earth-orbit-crossing asteroids and comets, we may not be here in a year or two to worry about your “lesser” concern. That doesn’t make it a valid, or even especially honest, criticism.

  11. Flag Hydrant Reinstalled In Oregon Dog Park | Itchmo: News For Dogs & Cats says:

    […] this week, an American flag-painted fire hydrant was removed from an Oregon dog park due to complaints from local residents that dogs would urinate on the hydrant. Now, the fire […]

  12. L.B. says:

    Lis, thanks for your opinion, I’ll give much more consideration before posting a comment in the future, it was a spur-of-the-moment thing. After reading account upon account of what is continuing to happen to animals (and humans) who are physically hurt, sickened, and killed,… when I came upon this article where people were in an uproar over the hydrant, and no one is being physically hurt, I was like, give me a break.

    It won’t happen again.

  13. Me says:

    You are the reason for stupid issues being publicized so much and blown out of proportion. It is a tribute to a police dog and everyone knows that dogs and hydrants go hand and hand. You wrote “That would make sense if he were a fire house dog, but he wasn’t; he was a police dog. Why not a a red, white, and blue representation of a police car?” Do you honestly think a police car can be painted on a tall skinny fire hydrant… maybe if it was sideways. Also, the flag simply represents the USA and the dedicated police force including their K9 dogs in protecting the USA which is symbolized by a red, white and blue flag.

    You also wrote “This was just a dumb idea, and it’s not surprising that it came back to bite them.”

    That was extremely RUDE and out of line to write that. Do you often donate your time or money to special contributions? Apparently not.. I am sure the person that painted this spend countless hours perfecting this for a good cause.

    I guarantee you if you take a vote, as did KGW news which took an online poll. The results were “ridiculous” about the pulling of the fire hydrant. Why don’t the dog owners themselves take some ownership and make sure they know where their dogs are peeing? If they want to out of respect for the flag, make sure you know where your dog is relieving itself.

    Nevertheless, the resolution has come. It is now guarded by a 3 foot black iron rod fence to satisfy the people out there that have nothing else to do but BIT** about things! Get a life and get over it!

  14. king says:

    yeah lis i agree with me!!!Get a life!!!

  15. king says:

    yeah lis i agree with me!!!

  16. Noj gnal says:

    America has become too sensitive. How many of the people who complained were veterans?

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