A fire hydrant painted as an American flag was removed from a dog park after complaints it was disrespectful to let dogs use it for what dogs do.
The new leash-free park was named for Hondo, a police dog killed 10 years ago chasing a suspect, and the flag-painted hydrant was intended as a tribute to him. “We put a lot of effort into it,” said artist Jason Ross.
However, after a photo of the hydrant appeared Sunday in The Oregonian newspaper, e-mails started arriving at the department.
“That gallant dog must be turning in his grave at the thought of the flag being desecrated every time a dog pees on that hydrant!” wrote Louanne Douris, a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer.
Officials had thought of that problem, and had put the red, white and blue hydrant on an 18-inch-high base, surrounded by “dog-unfriendly” shrubs including prickly barberry bushes.
Another hydrant was placed at ground level for the dogs’ convenience.
Park officials said there had been no reports of dogs urinating on the flag hydrant.
“I think the overall message was support for the dog park and support for honoring the police dog — the fallen police dog — but the concern (was) over the perception of a dog peeing on a hydrant painted with an American flag,” said Corrine Bloomfield, the parks department’s community resources manager.
She said the city hadn’t decided where to place the hydrant.