Canine conflict

Proposal to restrict off-leash dogs on federal parklands has owners howling and environmentalists cheering

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Fort Funston, a popular spot for letting dogs roam free, could have more leashing requirements under the new rules.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY LUKE THOMAS/FOGCITYJOURNAL.COM

news@sfbg.com

San Francisco enjoys proximity to natural beauty and recreation on a scale unlike any other major urban area in the country. The 75,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area offers city dwellers almost 60 miles of rugged coastline, forested hiking trails, and scenic beaches to enjoy. In most cases, people can bring their dogs.

While the city is notoriously difficult to raise human children in, four-legged friends flourish in an environment that celebrates their existence. With a multitude of dog-friendly parks, pet hotels, and ubiquitous doggie boutiques to accommodate the estimated 120,000 dogs that call San Francisco home, the canines and their companions form their own political constituency.

So it's only natural that GGNRA's Draft Dog Management Plan, which restricts dog walking in the park, has the pet set howling. The plan would limit off-leash dogs to 21 different areas of the park, including some of the most popular places such as Crissy Field, Fort Funston, and Ocean Beach, and ban dogs from some areas, like Muir Beach, where they have long been welcome.

The 2,400-page plan has been in the works since 2002, created out of the need to uphold the agency's duty to protect the sensitive wildlife and plant species in the park while accommodating a growing population of visitors. Since its unveiling in January, thousands have rallied against it, filing so many comments to the National Park Service that it has extended the public comment period until May 30.

Currently, dogs are allowed off-leash in small fraction of the GGNRA lands and on-leash throughout most of the park. The proposed plan offers six alternatives for each of the 21 areas examined, all strengthening existing — but often ignored — leashing policies and reducing areas where dogs are allowed to roam tether-free.

"This is overly restrictive and unrealistic," said Martha Walters, chair of the Crissy Field Dog Group. "There are certainly more management measures that can be taken with signage and educational outreach to protect these environments without having to impose this plan."

Opposition has been widespread among pet owners and groups like the SPCA and Animal Care and Control. The Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 on April 26 to adopt a resolution formally opposing the plan, although the city has no jurisdiction over the area.

"It's one thing to make sure we protect endangered species, but this plan doesn't just do that," said District 8 Sup. Scott Wiener, who authored the resolution. "This is a much more extreme proposal that is a significant restriction to dogs."

Opponents fear the plan will force more dogs into city parks where overcrowding and aggressive behavior could become problems. Dog owners and advocates stress that responsible dog guardianship can be compatible with environmental stewardship, and that the NPS should better enforce the pet policy already in place.

"This is not right for our community," said Jennifer Scarlett, codirector of the SPCA. "I would never want to wish harm on any wildlife, but it's a piece of land stuck in one of the most densely populated cities in the country."

But the GGNRA is still part of NPS, although many existing national environmental policies have largely been ignored here.

"We don't get to choose whether or not to fulfill federal mandates," said Alexandra Picavet, public affairs specialist for the GGNRA.

The GGNRA allows leashed dogs in more places than any other national park, and is the only park in the entire NPS system that allows off-leash dogs. It achieved National Park status in 1972, but its unique position as the backyard of a major city caused it to bend the rules when it came to letting the dogs out.

Comments

There are a few inaccuracies in this story. It fails to mention that the city of San Francisco gave much of the land to the GGNRA with the express purpose that it would be used as it had been historically for recreational purposes, which includes dog walking and that the city retains the right to take the land back if the agreement is not adhered to. The article also fails to mention that there is legislation that allows the National Park Service to make exceptions to their rules specific to particular areas. Such exceptions have been made in the GGNRA for hang gliders at Fort Funston and in other national parks to allow dogs off leash for hunting.

As a senior citizen and 45-year resident of San Francisco, I know that off-leash dog walking has occurred for many, many years with few problems. The GGNRA statistics show this as well as less that 1/10 of 1% of dog visits result in an incident or ticket. The dog walkers are not asking for a lot -- just the opportunity to pursue their recreation of choice on 1% of the GGNRA land and to share that with others in the community. The Audubon Society and Sierra Club, however, appear to want to drive others out.
Jan Scott

Posted by Guest on May. 04, 2011 @ 9:50 am

Dogs do not impede population growth of any protected species (17 referenced in GGNRA plan). Ranger Law Enforcement spends more time tending to serious problems caused by people in the parks, like injury, assault, robbery, and rape than dogs. That is what the serious incident reports show. GGNRA has spent $1.5 million to write the plan and projects it will cost more than $1 million annually through hiring additional rangers to enact it. If there was ever an example of federal bureaucracy run amok this is a prime candidate. This plan hurts the people who like to play fetch with their dogs in the places where they have been welcomed for decades. It does not protect these lands from of a cataclysmic-type event; that threat was eliminated in 1972 when the land was turned over to GGNRA, not developers.

Posted by Ted Edwards on May. 04, 2011 @ 11:06 am

There are many inaccuracies in this article. Here are a few: (1) there is no such thing as "sensitive habitat", at least in any scientific or legal sense. That is simply a word made up by the GGNRA in an attempt to keep people and dogs out of the Park; (2) San Francisco does have jurisdiction over the GGNRA: the former City lands such as Funston and Ocean Beach were only deeded to "the high water mark", meaning that the tidelands remain in ownership of the City and subject to the California Constitution's mandate that they remain open for "general recreational usage: (3) the tidelands at Crissy Field are owned by the State of California, and likewise remain subject to the Public Trust Doctrine in the California Constitution; (4) the Sierra Club (and other faux "environmentalists") specifically endorsed the 1979 Pet Policy, which is the law of the land (see http://www.ggnranews.blogspot.com), a Policy which has built in precautions for the environment, but remain ignored by the GGNRA and its ilk because they simply wish to eradicate all recreation from the Park, as manifested by Pelosi's ill-fated bill to remove the word "recreation" from the GGNRA's enabling legislation: (5) the GGNRA consists of over 80,000 acres; (6) if you want to see the actual "user conflict" statistics from the GGNRA itself, go to the Ocean Beach DOG website, where they were summarized in great detail. Despite the PR to the contrary, it is people, not dogs, who account for over 90% of user conflict in the Park. The 2,400 page DEIS is a sham; it is not backed by any credible scientific evidence, and conveniently ignores studies that the GGNRA itself commissioned that run counter to its proposals. The 1979 Pet Policy has all the necessary protections for the environment and for other users. Allowing dogs to remain off leash and under voice control in less than 1% of the Park is mandated by the promises made by the GGNRA to the City, and by all the truly scientific evidence.

Posted by Guest Steve Sayad on May. 04, 2011 @ 11:34 am

San Francisco's leash law predates the GGNRA practice which has permitted off leash dog walking on federal parklands so if dogs were walked off leash before the City ceded properties to the Department of Interior, it was illegal at the time.
As to suggesting "more management measures", we have seen that many dog owners ignore signs about restricted and let their pets harass birds. At federal hearings in 1971 and 1972, City officials were eager to have Ocean Beach and other areas put into the GGNRA - primarily because they could not manage them well; the agreement between SF and the NPS says nothing about dog walking only recreational use. In fact, the most common recreational use at Fort Funston at the time of transfer was motorcycle use.

In the proposed plan, only one San Francisco trail is dog-free. I think that the dog owners want too much and the NPS plan is very generous.

Posted by Guest Rebecca on May. 04, 2011 @ 11:54 am

I am guessing you live alone, and maybe this is because you are a grouchy animal hater. You need the love of a good dog. Once you have that unconditional love and enjoy spending time with your furry friend in our beautiful parks, and get a grateful "thank you" tail wag and lick, you will come join us on the good side...

Posted by Guest on May. 04, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

Rebecca:

"The agreement between SF and the NPS says nothing about dog walking only recreational use."

At Congressional hearings that preceded the formation of the GGNRA, dog walking was specifically mentioned as one of the recreational activities to be protected.

The dog community currently has legal access to less than 1% of the GGNRA's vast acreage. The proposal would slash that to a fraction of 1%. To me that is anything but "generous" or balanced.

Posted by Guest Vicki on May. 05, 2011 @ 8:30 am

Give me a break.

Everyone knows full well that we are not talking about the -entire- GGNRA area in this debate.

We are talking about the parts of the GGNRA that are -in- urban San Francisco where people want to walk their dogs.

The ratio of space available to dogs in -that- area is -far- higher.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 05, 2011 @ 11:40 am

If "we are talking about the parts of GGNRA that are -in- urban San Francisco", then Recreation should be the priority. If Recreation is the priority and 1 in 3 households have dogs, then the "-in- urban areas" should be increased to at least 1/3rd allocated to dog-owners and dogs off-leash (on-leash is not a substitute to off-leash).

Posted by Samir on May. 05, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

Eric,

This issue affects hikers in three counties -- Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo. It is NOT just about San Francisco.

The vast majority of open space across jurisdictions is NOT open to people for off-leash dog walking. 1% of the GGNRA lands is not unreasonable. There is plenty of space for balancing recreation, resource protection, and visitor preferences.

Posted by Vicki on May. 06, 2011 @ 9:44 am

Even if other communities are fighting the same battle, we are still talking about dog walkers in the limited areas of the GGNRA that are close to urban habitation, not out in the vast sticks of the entire GGNRA.

My rebuttal is still perfectly correct. The space we are arguing over is -much- more than 1% of the parks -in- those urban areas.

Posted by Eric Brooks on May. 06, 2011 @ 9:14 pm

Rebecca,
The propose dog plan is far from generous. It uses an old clever negotiation tactic to define the 5 alternatives and then appear compromising by offering to settling on the middle alternative. In fact, ALL of the proposed alternatives (including the alternative presented as "No Action") include ROLAs (Regulated Off Leash Areas) cleverly buried in the unnecessarily lengthy 2400 page plan that would make EVERY off-leash area susceptible to conversion to on-leash or even dog-banned by GGNRA completely at their whim.

Posted by Samir on May. 05, 2011 @ 11:33 pm

The NPS plan is "very generous"? It basically bans dogs from playing fetch anywhere near the water's edge anywhere in the Bay Area. The plan is an existential threat to water oriented retrievers. How exactly is that "very generous"?

Posted by Marcel on May. 08, 2011 @ 6:52 am

Fact Corrections: For 2008, there are 498 incidents with the details on 900 pages. These 498 incidents are unfortunate but are being sensationalized and not being put in the context of the millions of visits with dogs per year or identifying site-specific issues. By these standards, a school, with thousands of students, would prevent address one student misbehaves by banning all students.

Only 1.6% (36 of 2255) of GGNRA safety related incidents are related to people visiting with dogs. For incidents regarding dogs, 444 (89%) of dog/pet incidents are for leash law or areas closed to pets. This is in comparison to 15% of the Bay Area people or an estimated 450,000 that visit with dogs, sometimes daily. The two most serious injuries for people were a dog getting in traffic on Quarry Road and an aggressive dog getting loose while on-leash on the Ocean Beach dunes. For the 24 dog "bite/attacks", most incidents did not result in any injury or only minor injuries such as bumps and scratches. For comparison in the GGNRA, there were 37 bicycle accidents, 115 car accidents, 9 deaths, 38 domestic violence/disputes, 71 drunkenness, 75 violent assaults, 248 injured persons, etc.

For the dog leash law and closed areas violations (444), 50% were Ocean Beach (125) and Crissy Field (95) with the Wildlife Protection Areas, 25% for all of Marin County, 10% for all of San Mateo County, and the rest other SF locations. Instead of addressing specific site-issues, the Park Service plans broad cuts to most on-leash trails and to reduce the 1% of areas designated for off-leash by another 90%. The plan bans dogs completely at Sweeney Ridge (15 leash law incidents) and Muir Beach (4 various incidents) even though there is almost no violations and no environmental impacts from dog recreation at those locations. The most popular off-leash area, Fort Funston, will be cut by 90% with only 1% of all dog-related law enforcement incidents. Fort Funston is zoned for high visitation not wilderness, and while the ice plants show some wear Fort Funston does not received nor require the same maintenance as other high visitation areas or GGNRA playing fields. The Park Service is attempting to eliminate this high visitation and instead re-establish native plants.

In addition, the GGNRA is not improving public safety with this plan since the dogs are not going away. Either dogs will not be getting the safety benefits of being well exercised and socialized or the issues currently in the GGNRA will be concentrated and magnified in smaller community parks and streets.

Posted by San Mateo Dog Owner on May. 04, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

With respect to the newly proposed GGNRA compliance based management strategy (aka, "the poison pill") the article states, "If 75 percent of users do not comply, further restrictions will be made." The article actually has it reversed. The policy explicitly states that If more than 25% of the users are not in compliance further restrictions will be ,made.

I quote directly from the actual GGNRA Pet Management DEIS:
"When noncompliance is observed in an area, park staff would focus on enforcing the regulations, educating dog walkers, and establishing buffer zones, time and use restrictions, and SUP restrictions. If compliance falls below 75 percent (measured as the Executive Summary xiv Golden Gate National Recreation Area percentage of total dogs / dog walkers observed during the previous 12 months not in compliance with the regulations) the area’s management would be changed to the next more restrictive level of dog management. In this case, ROLAs would be changed to on-leash dog walking areas and on-leash dog walking areas would be changed to no dog walking areas."

Posted by Rocky Golub on May. 04, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

Fort Funston is not a "de facto off-leash area," it is a *legal* area for leashed OR voice control (off-leash) dog walking as set forth in the 1979 Pet Policy, which has been confirmed twice by the courts as the legal and operative policy in the GGNRA.

The NPS and its affiliates, despite the court ruling, *still* keep stating, falsely, that the Pet Policy "had no basis in law" (GGNRA Superintendent Frank Dean made that statement as recently as the April 11 Land Use Committee BOS hearing).

One wonders if the reporter just took at face value what was told to her by the NPS and affiliates.

Posted by Guest Vicki on May. 05, 2011 @ 8:39 am

Okay. Walk your dog in city parks.

Posted by Guest on May. 05, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

A couple very big conceptions:

1) dog-owners just need some square patch of dirt for their dogs to poop.
No! Walking with our dogs, our family, is OUR recreation. By restricting where we walk our dogs, we are being restricted. It is impractical for us to walk our dogs in the dog park, lock them at home, and then go enjoy the public GGNRA parks.

2) dogs should only walk off-leash if well-behaved.
Wrong. Dogs do not walk off-leash because they are well-behaved. Dogs are well-behaved because they walk off-leash. Off-leash dog walking actually has a much bigger societal benefit, even to non-dog owners.

Posted by Samir on May. 05, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

There are an estimated 110,000 dogs living with an estimated 200,000+ San Francisco residents. There are 28 legal off-leash areas in city parks.

You do the math. If all of us were to go only to city park off-leash areas, there would be roughly 3900 dogs PLUS accompanying humans per DPA twice a day, every day.

Posted by Vicki on May. 06, 2011 @ 9:52 am

I don't understand why dog owners are making such a big deal about this. Any new laws passed will be routinely ignored just as you currently ignore the leash law and the laws forbidding dogs in coffee shops and grocery stores, and other food facilities. I've even seen off-leash dogs in food facilities, and these laws have long been in place.

Also, regarding the stats on dog related incidents, the number of incidents reported does not necessarily reflect the number of incidents that occur. If your off leash dog bites someone, but does not break the skin, or only scratches the person or leaves bumps, most people aren't going to report this - they want to get on with their day. But guess what. People don't want to be dog bit, even if it is "just a scratch", you jerk.

The small city park near where I live is - and has been for a long time - a defacto, not legal, off-leash dog park. I can't tell you the number of times I have seen off-leash dogs steal food from peoples' hands or off their picnic blankets. The unsuspecting picnicker can find himself surrounded by clamoring offleash dogs and forced to pack up their lunch and go. These incidents go unreported as well.

Not to mention the irresponsible owner who is not paying attention while his dog takes a crap forty feet away from him and the owner never knows it, and so doesn't pick it up.

You'll call me anti-dog, but this is not true. I love dogs. Had them all my life growing up. But most of you city dog-owners are an inconsiderate, arrogant bunch of a-holes, and most of you and your dogs lack the training to be allowed in public without a leash.

So why are you protesting so hard against a law you will only ignore, anyway?

Posted by Guest on May. 07, 2011 @ 3:43 am

Right. You're not anti-dog, just anti-dog owner. What other classes of people do you judge harshly because of the actions of a few?

The reality is that people take varying degrees of responsibility in dog ownership just like they do in their jobs or as parents or as neighbors. Some are great. Some are lousy, most are mixed.

My take is that most San Francisco dog owners are pretty responsible. I know that I have missed my dog dropping stool (others have kindly pointed it out to me). But, I also frequently pick up stool that others have missed. I don't take my dog into coffee shops (on or off leash) or supermarkets. My dog doesn't bite (she's too much of a coward). But, in your book I'm inconsiderate, arrogant, and a target of your vulgarities. I guess I get a sense of the kind of neighbor you want to be.

To answer your question, I am protesting because I want a place for my dog where she can run free and play and not have to offend people like you. I believe that when there are reasonable outlets for people to do things then you can enforce reasonable rules about those things.

Right now, GGNRA does not enforce rules about where dogs can be. With their preferred option, there will not be, in my opinion, reasonable outlets for dog exercise. And then they will have a greater enforcement problem.

I am curious about one thing in your note: Do you obey every rule? Do you always cross at the corner and never jaywalk? You never execute a rolling stop? If not, how do you want to be judged?

Posted by gbeb on May. 07, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

That's cute, you trying to put it back on me - I'm anti-dog owner, vulgar, a bigot, and probably a bad neighbor and a jaywalker, to boot. Do you really mean to argue that since somebody out there is jaywalking, nobody has a right to complain about getting bitten by an off-leash dog?

I'll tell you something else. A friend of mine witnessed a small, leashed dog getting mauled and killed by a much larger, off-leash dog in the small city park near where I live, where ill-trained, off-leash dogs run rampant. The dog that was killed was owned by an elected city official, but she admitted to my friend that she was afraid to do anything about the off-leash dog problem here in the city because the dog owner lobby here is too powerful and it could negatively impact her chances at re-election if she were perceived or tarred as "anti-dog". So much for your "most dog owners are kind, considerate, respectful, etc" rhetoric. Dog owners in this city are a politically organized machine, and exert their political clout against any attempts to rein in even the most vicious of their precious babies. I think they've taken a page out of the MUNI drivers union handbook.

As to my pedestrian habits (off-topic, I know, but since you brought it up), any pedestrian who crosses against the light, or anywhere other than the crosswalk, is foolhardy. Even being in the crosswalk with the light in one's favor is no guarantee he won't be mowed down by some driver talking on his cell and turning right on red, or a cyclist blowing the red light completely, full speed ahead. Drivers and cyclists in this city are as bad as dog owners in the arrogance and lack of consideration departments, but as bad as they are, they don't form a political lobby to bully politicians and the police into ignoring their violations of the law.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2011 @ 3:08 am

I can't get over how many classes of people you like to judge harshly.

Did you ever notice that there are pedestrians who don't bother to look before they cross, despite what their mothers and (if they are old enough) Mitch Miller tried to teach them? Are all pedestrians effete and self-absorbed because some don't know how to take turns at busy intersections? I don't think so.

And now, because some dog owners don't manage their dogs well, all dog owner cannot be "kind, considerate, respectful, etc."

The dog owners are organized because they care about their dogs enough to do so. Important resources may be taken away (the removal of which, by the way, will create more problems for folks who don't want to be around dogs or lousy dog owners). Negligent drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians are not in the same situation. So they aren't organize. The dog owners are doing nothing wrong in organizing.

But most importantly, there is a middle ground which no one seems to want to discuss (many seem to prefer the easier job of name-calling). Why not increase the standards for licensing? People, sadly, have the right to be lousy parents. But, suppose to have a dog off-leash, one must take it through a certification process that will help reduce the behaviors everyone (including responsible dog owners) find offensive.

Suppose I have to pay a special fee to take my dog off leash into Funston or other off leash areas of the GGNRA. That should help offset the costs and overhead of supporting the dogs there.

Suppose the Golden Gate Conservancy (you know, those organized environmentalist types) had a fund -- like the one they have for hiking trails -- to offset the costs of dog management. I would donate to it. Heck, I tried to. If lots of dog owners had an outlet like that, there would be lots of money to reduce the impact dogs have on the GGNRA. But, the GGC wouldn't take the money for that purpose.

There are lots of folks on both sides who do nothing but name calling and passing judgements. I would prefer to find solutions. Maybe you can propose some, too.

Lastly, I didn't even come close to saying that because one jaywalks one can't complain about getting bitten by a badly behaved dog. And I think you know that. I was saying that:

(a) rules that are not enforced are not followed and the GGNRA does not even enforce the rules it has now.
(b) before judging people about the rules they follow, think about the rules you follow. If you follow every rule, great. You may then call specific people rule breakers. I don't think you can call most people an "inconsiderate, arrogant bunch of a-holes". A jaywalker or someone who doesn't look before crossing might comment a little less harshly. Heck, you might be less harsh just so we can engage in a civil dialog.

Posted by Gbeb on May. 10, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

If they really cared about their dogs they wouldn't live in a city. I am a pretty left wing person but the downside is in places like San Francisco people think they can make their own rules. So many times I've seen leash signs completely ignored. There is very little consideration for others who want to enjoy public places. One person at fort funston was playing catch with a tennis ball and threw it right toward me basically launching their dog at me without even a: sorry I threw it before I saw you there. Dog owners in San Francisco tend to be self entitled, selfish and inconsiderate.

Posted by Scott on May. 19, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

Scott:

I care about my dog and I live in the city. I'm sure you know that some dogs live well with limited space for roaming and running (e.g. Maltese, Morkies, and many more breeds).

Thank you for making your point so much more civilly. But, I can't agree with your conclusion. If there really are 120,000 dogs living in the city (an estimate I pulled from sfgate), I doubt that the majority of owners (say, 50,000 households,) are freely launching tennis balls at people or doing the things that upset others (like routinely leaving feces on the sidewalk). Given the large number of dogs at Funston, you should have many other stories like that from your visit if we dog owners are so self-centered. I see the majority of dog owners on my street and in nearby parks picking up feces and training their dogs to behave well around others.

Again, many SF bicyclists ignore stop signs, neglect proper traffic safety, and don't share the road. Many, many San Francisco pedestrians don't look before they cross and a healthy subset blames the driver when cars come near.

I would never say that as a class bicyclists and pedestrians are dangerously self-absorbed. Still, I can understand how those few jerks stand out and tempt one to do so.

Regardless, we won't find any way to get along and create a workable solution with generalizations flowing from that temptation.

Posted by Gbeb on May. 25, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

I was in Berkeley today at the farmers market and the park next to it. There were no dogs in the farmers market and the dogs in the park were all on leash. There was a celebration happening and there were a lot of animal and freedom loving people there, along with a pet rabbit. The atmosphere felt safe and peaceful, even for the rabbit. If there were off-leash dogs it would have been a whole different atmosphere. This obviously not about banning offf-leash dogs everywhere, in San Francisco there's no outdoor public area to have the kind of experience I had in Berkeley. I went to the beach in Alameda last month and there were no dogs on the beach chasing birds. Around the state and the country dogs get along without having access to every possible public space, legal or not. Allowing dogs to chase shorebirds isn't just illegal, it's cruel. Where's the controversy?

Posted by lyn on May. 07, 2011 @ 4:16 pm

Berkeley, Alameda, urban areas all around the state and the country.
It sounds like there are plenty of places for you to go and not be disturbed by your dislike of dogs.

Posted by Guest on May. 09, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

Thank you for your post. So many beaches and nice places have been ruined by inconsiderate dog owners. People are bringing their animals into stores, farmers markets, cafe's. I think it's cruel to own a big dog if you live in a city but these selfish dog owners only think of themselves.

Posted by Scott on May. 19, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

It seems to me that we dog owners should lead in finding a way to help the park service deal with dogs. The report reads to me like a call for help, saying that GGNRA is neither staffed nor trained to deal with the implication of what all those dogs bring. And the National Park Service has no interest in helping them do so since having the dogs off leash there breaks NPS rules.

Why can't there be a fund to help the park deal with dog issues.

Golden Gate Conservancy has opportunities to give to support hiking and bike trails. When I tried to donate to them (a decent amount for an individual, I thought) to help the parks deal with dogs, they gave the money back. They had no such outlet. Why don't we dog owners get together to start one?

Posted by gbeb on May. 07, 2011 @ 10:46 pm

This reporter misspelled Willa Hegarty's name wrong.

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2011 @ 8:41 am

I mean she misspelled her name. LOL!

Posted by Guest on May. 16, 2011 @ 8:42 am

It's very heartening to see that I'm not alone in wanted to enjoy the beach and parks without being molested by dogs. I'm not alone in being frustrated with the complete disregard of my rights as dog owners refuse to comply with laws they find distasteful.

Posted by Scott on May. 19, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

Before you call me a dog hater.

It's true I don't like them and rather they weren't in the city at all but I think putting them on a leash is a good compromise. Also I have a friend who absolutely loves dogs and even he was mortified at what went on at Fort Funston.

Posted by Scott on May. 19, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

I can see why people would want to have areas where their dogs can run around and be a dog, especially those deprived of having a backyard. I don't oppose that, I understand that most of those dogs are well adjusted and trained animals, but I just avoid areas that have heavy off-leash traffic because my dog is old and shy and stays on a leash. She doesn't appreciate a bunch of sniffing inquiries and there are plenty of areas that are leash only that we enjoy. The only problem is those people that think that any area that allows dogs is a place where they can run free. Please be considerate of other dogs and people, then maybe these laws wouldn't have to be enacted. Yes, your dog may be super friendly and awesome, but there are other people out there with fears about dogs or their dogs, like mine, are shy and can act out if pressured by a person or another animal.

Before you critize about me not socializing my animal, my dog was a rescue from an abuser and was so painfully shy of people it took weeks for her just to let me pet her without shaking.

Posted by chelsea on May. 25, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

What an overwhelming overpopulation problem we all must deal with today, soon mother nature will do some spring cleaning and simply shake us like fleas one way or another. Dog lovers, tree lovers, people lovers and a-holes alike, nobody is perfect everyone makes mistakes. Treat others in the manor you yourself wish others to treat you. Rude comments, intolerance, greed, and streotypes are couter-productive not to mention destructive by nature and a bad example to teach our children how do deal with one another. This is the San Francisco Bay Area and if you dont have a basic level of respect for anything and everything within this community (from the dirt, to the trees, to the wildlife, to the dogs, to the business, to the residents and everything in between) then perhaps this isnt the place for you. We celebrate our differences in the bay area. I am proud to be born and raised here, my parents were also born and raised here and we are a powerful segment who trys to lead by example and encourage equallity and positive change by setting the bar as necessary. Please remember where you are, who you are, what you stand for at the end of day. A few angry haters demonstrate bigotry and total lack of respect for others and their life styles, but there are always a few bad apples. Police canines have many rights, carpool lane and all. Animals (who cannot speak for themselves) were created to live here on earth as we all were, and not to mention are members of our family, should be allowed basic rights too. To me this simply has CIVIL RIGHTS written all over it. I would go to every possible length and do anything necessary at any given time to protect my dog and her well being. Dogs should have more places they are allowed to go not less and this is not an area I feel is on the table for any type of compromise. After all the wonderfull things dogs do for us every day...the facts will remain just as truths will prevail and justice will be served. Together we can facilitate solutions building bridges in our community. At the end of the day it is what it is and the chips will fall where they may. Thank you for hearing me. Peace.

Posted by Kristina on Feb. 05, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

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