8 min read

Houston's treatment of horses no surprise.

Last October, while attending a public transit expo at the convention center, I decided to hit off on my own to explore Metro's light rail line. My travels took me over the then one line operating, the red line between Fannin South & Northline HCC. Eventually I made it to the Northline station. I was horrified by what I had seen: dozens of loose dogs, many wet from the previous night's downpour. They were sitting on, and crossing, the light rail tracks and adjacent roadways. They were on the side streets looking in garbage cans and such, presumably for meals. I attempted to shoo many of them off the road and tracks. They scattered for a time, but I'm sure they came back after I had left. Some dogs ran across the road to the large bus zone Metro utilizes. At that time, it was pretty wide open. It was late in the evening and there was not much traffic. Bus service was at a dwindle. I felt so alone and helpless. All I could do is pray, to my deceased mother who would have been beside herself if she had seen this. I prayed to St Francis, the patron of animals. I prayed to God. All Icould do was leave, with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart.

Further down the Red line, at Lindale or Cavalcade, I encountered an abandoned house. It had several dogs in the open yard, seeking shelter on the porch and under a makeshift shelter near its steps. I noticed an SUV in the driveway and hoped someone was inside and just maybe would take care of these dogs. The windows were boarded up so it was impossible to look in.

I made my way further down the line and saw even more stray dogs in the roadway and on the light rail tracks & stations. One poor old girl may have just had pups; her belly and nipples hanging below her.

At the Moody Park stop, it was the same, with dogs crossing the road & tracks to get to the opposite side. One little black & tan dog was sniffing at a self-serve car wash near the tracks, licking the water from the washers cleaning the autos within. I stopped and tried to catch the dog but he was too frightened. One young man, cleaning his car, saw what I was trying to do. He sort of smiled & shrugged like to say "what can you do"? He picked up a little plastic container and filled it with water. He placed it in a corner and the dog went to it. And then the dog began to scrounge around, looking for food. A woman in a black car, who had been waiting for someone on the light rail, came out and gave the pooch something to eat. I approached the car and told the woman I was from New York and what I had experienced with all the stray dogs that day. She just said "It happens".

Surprisingly, a man emerged from a neighboring house near the car wash. He saw the little black dog, went away and later came back with some old pizza. The dogs began eating it. I walked away, back to the Red Line platform. I turned and the man & dog were gone. Could he have rescued it from certain death on the road? I hoped. Again I prayed.

After feeling like I myself had been hit by a train, I caught the light rail and rode into the darkness, emerging in the Herman Park area. I walked around in that lovely area, sitting by a large fountain and certain I was alone, began to cry openly. I was so hurt by all that animal cruelty. My nice trip had turned sour; I would never visit Houston again!

But I did return, just two weeks ago. With friends. And I swore I would not ride to Northline. But I did. Recalling the vents of last year's visit, I found my self looking, up every corner, down every street. On the tracks, the roadway. I could hear my mom's voice in my head telling me I was looking for trouble. But I just had to see, to know if things were ok. I saw the house with the boarded up windows, and two dogs in the yard. I passed by the car wash at Moody Park. I emerged at Northline HCC. Plenty of traffic, many buses entering and leaving. The place was now more fenced in, more secure some how. I felt a bit more satisfied, perhaps things had improved. I got on the Red Line and the train left.. And two stray dogs strolled down the lonely side street.