Dog owner starts fundraising campaign to keep dog park open

Posted at 1:45 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:36-04

A dog owner in Waco has started a GoFundMe page after seeing a post about the potential of what may be the only off-leash dog park in Waco closing.

The off-leash H.O.T. dog park is located on Steinbeck Drive in Waco.

The free dog park is managed by the Texas Animal Medical Center whose staff is in charge of mowing, providing dog waste bags and picking up those bags from the park.

A picture of a note posted by Dr. LuAnn Ervin, the veterinarian who owns the Texas Animal Medical Center, about vandalism at the park.

"The thought of vandalism at the park it's something that I don't want the dogs that go over there to incur and people moving in and sitting in the dog park,” Ervin said.

The note mentioned someone turned on the water that had been shut off, which froze the water pipes twice. In addition, it stated vandals demolished four donation boxes. The note also stated the clinic that pays for the upkeep can't keep paying for those repairs so if this behavior continued it would be forced to close the park.

She said after she posted the note, someone came up with the idea of starting a GoFundMe page.

Ervin said the expenses would help with costs outside of the services she already covers. In addition, if there is additional money, they could use it to pay for some items on their wish list.

Tabatha Wilson started that campaign with a goal of $3,000. As of 8 p.m. on Thursday, the campaign had raised $855.

"Those who use it all the time, need to do something to help,” Wilson said.

The Waco resident said she goes there on a daily basis because she lives in an apartment.

"It's a safe place for him to be off-leash. There is no other place in Waco for dogs to be off leash and run and just for taking a simple walk for him is not enough,” Wilson said.

For other dog owners, the dog park offers a lot of positive experiences for their pets.

"They get to socialize with other dogs and people. It just makes them better dogs, Dog owner Nancy Haberl said.

Daniel Smith, who takes his dog there two or three times a week, said he couldn’t imagine not having this place available for his pet.

"It would be horrible to have a place like this taken away from us. It would make it very difficult. Why would it make it difficult,” Smith said. “We don't have other place to go where we can let our dogs run and still be within the law."

Ervin said it is not likely the dog park would close for good. She said she would make it a membership only dog park before that happens.

She said it is possible the dog park would close temporarily until they can figure out ways to monitor those who go into the dog park with cameras in the parking lot and inside the dog park.

She is also going to try to tell staff and dog owners to keep a close eye on those who are not there for the right reasons.

To donate, click here.

The city of Waco doesn't operate any dog parks. The city of Killeen offers a large and small dog park called Mickey's Dog Park. The City of Temple has a dog park at Lion's Park. 

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