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The Bay Area is known for being a dog-loving region, but has our canine adoration reached an unhealthy level? Dogs now accompany us into grocery stores, cafes, and even offices, but some argue that we’re excessively spoiling our dogs at the expense of others. We discuss whether our region really has a dog-coddling problem.

Guests:
Farhad Manjoo, technology columnist for Slate.com
Martha Walters, co-founder and chair of the Crissy Field Dog Group, a non-profit organization that promotes responsible dog ownership and establishing permanent off-leash dog walking rights within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Richard Lee, director of the Food Safety Program at the San Francisco Department of Public Health

  • sstanley

    OH PLEASE!!!

  • virusgal

    You have to be kidding!!! Too dog friendly?? Dogs in grocery stores? I don’t think so. The Bay Area is getting more and more anti-dog. No off-leash walking areas, crowded and filthy dog parks. We need to look at the example of Europe to see how canines that are part of the family are treated. They are allowed in restaurants, on public transport, and go many places that are now restricted in the US. GGNRA is trying to restrict dog access! With evidence showing the benefits of pet ownership, why should the Bay Area make pet ownership even more difficult. The solution would be to limit pet ownership at the source! Have stricter requirements for pet ownership;.e.g., close puppy mills, pet store puppies, backyard breeders as access points for pet ownership and require training and licensing of both pets and owners instead of restricting the activities of those who already own pets.

    • Greg Spooner

      You rhetorically ask “why should the Bay Area make pet ownership more difficult”? The answer is: Because many citizens here are routinely aggravated, annoyed and endangered by dogs and dog owners.

  • Animalia

    I’m debating whether or not I should listen to this show. As a dog lover who thinks San Francisco is not dog friendly enough, I’m not looking forward to having my blood pressure rise. From the negative framing of this question, I’m hoping this doesn’t set the tone for this episode to be a bunch of dog bashers whining. A better framing of the question for this show would have been, “Is San Francisco too dog friendly or not dog friendly enough?” I’m highly offended at the notion that “dog-coddling” is a problem or that taking your dog with you or treating them like the family members they are, is “coddling.”

    • Adrian Rehn

      Listen to the radio show. If a dog is getting in other people’s faces, is off the leash, or it’s accompanying its owner inside public spaces, then the dog owner is being disrespectful of others. Of course, legitimate service dogs are excluded

  • lalala

    I am an attorney who advises and represents a Bay Area county animal shelter. More and more people want to bring their dogs with them wherever they go. People claim that their dogs are “service dogs” because they provide emotional comfort and security. Under the ADA, service animals must perform a task. The ADA is very explicit that providing emotional comfort and security is not a task that would allow a person to bring his dog into a business.

    I am also seeing a proliferation of websites that sell “service dog” vests and harnesses. People can pay $100 to get their dog certified. There is no such thing as official certification.

    It’s disheartening that people feel comfortable lying about having a disability so that they can bring their dogs with them.

  • Bay Woof

    Being the guardian of a dog means caring for their health and well-being for the rest of their life. Its an often-touted fact that in San Francisco there are more dogs than children – that alone should indicate how often you’ll encounter dogs wherever you go. All the dogs, as well as all the city’s people, have to have space to be themselves.
    The diminishing number of Bay Area outdoor spaces that allow dogs is a growing problem – with the GGNRA soon to be obliterating the off-leash access to popular coastline parks, dog-walkers and dog guardians will be forced to go to the already over-crowded city parks to exercise their best friends. Too many people and too many dogs in the same areas is a recipe for disaster and will surely result in an increase of safety concerns.
    -M Rocket, publisher of Bay Woof

    • Justthefactsnow

      That is not what I understood the plan of GGNRA to be. As I read it they still have most all of the beaches slated as off leash areas. I want to know where people can go to the beach WITHOUT dogs. The 1% thing is not true. GGNRA has only 1% available for people only. How is that fair since I, not my dog, pay the taxes supporting these parks.

    • Adrian Rehn

      Keep your dog on a leash! Otherwise it’s disrespectful of others

  • Kate

    I love dogs, but do have an issue with dogs in supermarkets. People put their dog in a shopping cart where other will be putting their groceries

    • moi

      Toddlers with dirty diapers are a much bigger problem. Sorry, dogs are not inherently dirty. Children have the same dirty paws and bottoms. The human mouth (and thus fingers) is demonstratively more bacteria ridden than dog mouths and often more virulent to other humans, especially the viruses.

      • Antony McGregor Dey

        I’m not violently allergic to babies

  • Kp

    I am glad people love their dogs and are pro-active towards making sure there is space for them. However I share the space with them and their dogs and am not a big dog-lover. Not a fan of the smell or the fur all around, would it be possible to have separate sections for dog lovers and their pooches to ensure everyone is happy? Leave it to the businesses to decide who they want to attract as long as there is separate space for both?

    • Wendy Moshir-Fatemi

      In theory, your suggestion exists, Kp. The separate sections are the patio versus the indoors. Dogs are not able to be indoors, so that would be the section for the dog averse. The patio would be for dog lovers. And to take it a step further, there are more businesses that choose to not allow dogs on their patios than there are businesses that do allow it. Businesses are all ready deciding who they want to attract.

  • amyj1276

    I am so thankful for this conversation. I’ve been having this conversation for a few years now as I see people who can’t seem to distinguish between pets and children bring their dogs into grocery stores and cafes and ice-cream shops and everywhere else they go. They also refuse to leash their dogs where leash laws are clearly marked. Pets are not children. Period. Just as there are places where children don’t belong there are places where dogs don’t belong. This doesn’t take anything away from the love that people have for their pets or their feeling of their pets being part of their family. Even in dog-friendly European cities people aren’t so self-centered and arrogant to bring their dogs into the grocery store and push them in strollers down the street. I’ve lived in multiple cities in three different countries and I have never seen as many dogs-over-people people as I have here in SF. There is not a grocery store visit that goes by where there is not at least one dog on a very long leash wandering around the grocery store aisles. Only once have I seen a Walgreen’s employee ask someone if his dog was a service animal and that the dog couldn’t be in there when he responded no. I thanked that employee and wish there were more like her. At the grocery stores none of the employees seem to care about the law.

    • Angel

      Goodness. Where DO you shop? I am in Safeway, Lucky’s, small mom and pop’s and Trader Joes at least a couple times a week and I never see dogs, except the occasional service dog who ignores me. (I try not to take it personally!) How odd that dogs only appear during your trips. Look, I think when folks dial back their catastophizing and judgement and instead, see each other as part of the whole (rather than “one of them”) EVERY one takes more responsibility.

      • amyj1276

        I shop at the Masonic Lucky and Ocean Beach Safeway and Daly City TJ’s. I admit I’ve only seen dogs in TJ’s a couple of times, but I can count on one hand the number of times I have NOT seen a dog in one of the other stores. And the employees have a “not my problem” attitude. I’ve also seen dogs in Joe’s ice-cream and several other mom and pop shops. How odd that you would rather argue one’s experiences than address the issue.

      • Andrew Shinn

        Dogs are regularly seen in the 4th / King Safeway, even though a sign clearly says no.

  • tess

    seriously? too friendly? have you ever visited OAKLAND run by the anti-animal mayor JEAN -i ruined the school board and you STILL voted for me as a council member and mayor – QUAN, who despite her inaccurate statements, simply will not turn any of the city parks into even part off-leash areas for dogs.

    honestly, there are SO MANY people who are animal-idiots. they have no idea how to read dogs. horses, cats you-name it–and just go ballistic when approached by any dog.

    OTOH, there ARE dog owners who DO NOT PICK UP THEIR DOGS’ POOP: the No. 1 complaint from non dog-loving people. the second is “out-of-control” dogs, which runs the gambit from a rambunctious young dog to a dog whose handler has NO CONTROL over their dog(s).

    • Adrian Rehn

      Dogs shouldn’t be ‘approaching’ anyone who doesn’t want to be approached by them. Dogs on leashes make everyone happy!

  • Jon Gold

    Dogs are dogs…I don’t have one and I do like most dogs, BUT the environmental impact is undeniable. Please speak to this on-going issue in relation to state parks and beaches and sensitive habitats including my habitat where my neighbors have dogs and it’s sort assumed that the common areas are for the dogs to roam freely – not a huge imposition, but I wouldn’t run in and out of my neighbors apartments when doors are open…right?

  • Mark Holm

    Before about 100 yrs ago – most dogs were not leased, refused access to open spaces, etc. It is not healthy physically or mentally to keep a dog in a small box (apartment) and always on leash – there is not enough open spaces for dogs to run and play off leash – less than 1% of the GGNRA allows places for dogs off leash – not fair use – SF is not dog friendly enough.

    • Justthefactsnow

      Where do you get the 1% quote? Everywhere we go in GGNRA there are off leash dogs? Tell me where the 99% of park land is where there are no dogs? The cliffs?

  • Greg Spooner

    It’s pretty clear that many dogs and dog owners in SF are out of control. I am a runner, and have been charged by dogs on-leash, and off-leash many times over the last 5 years. I now carry pepper spray, though I haven’t had to use it yet. The craziest thing is that when I shout for the dog owners to control their pet that is trying to get at me, the owners often yell back at me with insults and threats. What better evidence is there that many SF dog owners are out of control?

    • Greg Spooner

      As Michael Krasny just said on air, some dog owners will actually blame the victim of their charging dog for the dog’s behavior. “she never does that”, “you must be scaring her”, “if you didn’t run that way, he wouldn’t do that”, etc.

      • tess

        seriously! it’s a non-starter: when anyone asks a handler to control her dog and/or recall her dog, this is NOT AN INVITATION to “discuss” that handler’s dog. JUST FRIGGIN DO IT. and, while you’re at it, pick up that orphan poop while you’re waiting.

    • Greg Spooner

      I’ve even been charged by a dog in a dry cleaning establishment (which I don’t go to anymore). The dog was lunging at me, while the owner and the shop keeper ignored the whole thing. Amazing.

  • ldemelis

    In dog-loving cities like Paris, dogs are allowed almost anywhere, including restaurants. But they are trained not to interact with other people or other dogs except in a controlled environment. Those of us who keep dogs in urban environments can’t act like we’re still living in the country. (I am a dog owner.)

  • Brenda Salguero

    Dogs aren’t the problem. People are. Owners need to be much more responsible because, as much as I love dogs, they are still animals and they need responsible owners. Overall I don’t think SF is dog friendly enough, BUT it might become less so if people do not learn how to really control their pets.

    • tess

      hallelujah and YES! as a trainer of dogs and horses for most of my life this is what i spend the majority of my time doing for those who seek out a trainer: i train people how to handle their dogs, period.
      as buck said of his horse clinics: “i help horses with people problems.”

  • Bay Woof

    Judging whether or not someone’s service dog is for a “legitimate need” is a whole other issue. Many disabilities are not visable – PTSD for example, which is one of the more common applications for service dog companionship, isn’t necessarily a recognizable disability. True, there are abusers of the system, but business owners have rights to not allow any dog – service or not – in their business.

    • amyj1276

      There is a very clear difference between a service animal and a companion animal. What you’re talking about is a companion animal and is not allowed in establishments like service animals are.

  • Khalid Ramahi

    It’s not that I hate dogs but to be honest I feel people here love them more than people. The amount of money spent on dog items is boggling, but what really gets me is that alot of the dog foods made are made with ingredients that can feed people. I’m not advocating not having dogs but our priorities are not really in order.

    • Animalia

      Some dogs are better than some people. Sorry, but it’s true.

      • Greg Spooner

        Aha. I believe this sentiment to be at the root of the problem. If you believe your dog is better than some people, it’s an easy step to privilege your dog’s behavior over that of strangers (humans). Because, why not? My dog is probably “better” than some stranger, so…

        • jamiebronson

          Your analysis is spot on and IS the root of the problem.

          • Animalia

            I judge people by the quality of their character. Many people I know fail in this regard. Most dogs I know don’t. I am not a speciesist.

        • Animalia

          Yes, there are many nasty people out there. I have a suspicion I wouldn’t care for you too much.

          • Adrian Rehn

            Talk about nasty…

    • gubblebumm

      ummmm, people also use face products and shampoos with ingrediants that can feed people, so whats your point

  • Amylassiter

    I agree with Lori and virusgal below. What a negative tone and framing of the question. I moved here from London, and find San Francisco very dog unfriendly. We have a large dog and have not been able to find anywhere to rent with him, we are banned from a surprising number of public parks that our taxes pay for, we can’t take him on any kind of public transport, unlike England where we could minimize our carbon footprint by taking him on trains. This does indeed seem to be a dog bashing episode. Of course bring doggie bags and a leash, but not allowing dogs in outside food markets or in the outdoor area of a cafe is not reasonable and not consistent with public health. This state needs to get people walking, not driving, and one of the best ways would be to allow people to incorporate some of their errands into their daily dog walk.
    Anecdotes of badly behaved dogs are irritating and do not provide much data, and Farhad should note that toddlers spread far more disease than dogs.

    • Angel

      Yes, dog bashing has evolved into the new, culturally acceptable “..ism”.

    • Jacqueline Norman

      I’m from London originally too and have never met such opposition to dog walking places as I do here, I really thought this VAST country could accommodate some places for off leash dogs…seriously I used to walk mine on nature reserves back in the UK, as long as they are under voice command it was encouraged as then it would make you visit more with kids, families etc…I do agree though that they should be banned from anywhere with food indoors, be it a shop or eating place but I don’t see why they can’t sit at an outdoor venue…my dogs personally get too hot to bring out…I know I’m British and think it’s always warm here!!! 😀 why can’t areas be allocated for everyone…you have enough space here!!!

      • Amylassiter

        It is very warm here indeed. I think a better program would have listed whatever risks to health were associated with dogs being around but also give a more detailed discussion of all of the benefits of dog ownership, particularly as new studies emerge confirming their beneficial impact on mental health, cardiovascular disease and diminishing obesity. It was a rather one-sided discussion, and as Tori states above, they did not give any real information on the risk of an animal being near food, and whether those risks also exist in outdoor spaces (which, as an Infectious Disease Doctor, I know they don’t).

    • tori Hernandez

      I was surprised to begin listening to this program. It is biased. I would like scientific information on why there are health risks if an animal is in the restaurant or near food? If this were really a problem, then the majority of Americans would be ill! I can say so much more but I won’t.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Dog owners, not dogs, are the problem! The self-centered San Francisco belief that the-world-revolves-around-me is seen in dog owners who use those hideous retractable leashes that give no control when extended like clotheslines. Oh, and that’s when the owners use leashes at all! I jog at Ocean Beach or in Golden Gate Park and I have been knocked down three times by dogs running between my legs with their owners far behind. Where are the cops? Oh yeah, enforcement – as other cities have – is considered too onerous for the birdbrained idiots who know nothing about how to train their dogs.

    I love dogs and I grew up with a beagle, a german shepard, and a mutt I had to walk daily. I walked them on fixed-length leashes and I didn’t approach strangers as though they invited me over! Sad to say, too many dog owners do not understand the knowledge it takes to train dogs before they buy them like the latest app for their phones which they pay more attention as they cluelessly bother the rest of us.
    Thanks for allowing me to vent!
    Fay (who has a bite scar from an ignored dog on a retractable leash)

    The City

    • Aaron

      You may know this, but the north end of Ocean Beach, past stairwell 18 I think, is a sanctioned off leash area. Something to keep in mind if you run all the way to the end.

    • Adrian Rehn

      Agreed, retractable leashes are garbage and dog owners exploit them

  • Aaron

    Is it possible that there are two related, but quite distinct questions here? One question about the quantity and use of open spaces, including by dogs and dog owners. Another about the behavior of dogs and owners in more dense public spaces, such as offices or simply sidewalks.

    I’m a dog owner and spend lots of time with my dog in open spaces and walking city streets. Especially in public space, I feel that every dog owner has a responsibility to assume that other people don’t want to interact with your dog until you see an explicit invitation. This feels harsh, but I think assuming other people like your dog is basically a form of self-involvement.

    • Adrian Rehn

      Well put. And each guest today reflected a different distinct issue here, dog behavior for the guy and dogs in public spaces for the woman.

    • Angel

      There is more than enough self-involvement of folks across the board. I would say most dog owners, frankly, are more appreciative of the impact their dogs have on folks than most parents do of their children. Just a few examples of things I see every week: screaming children in the presence of indifferent parents; small humans running after park geese pelting them with rocks or sticks; toddlers pounding on top of a dog’s head repeatedly with a chubby fist — while squealing in joy as daddy chuckles thinking that his little guy has learned how to “pet”… We pay for their public schooling of children….how about sharing park space? Sharing. What a great concept to teach children, eh?

  • gerry

    Dogs are part of society. Like people (and your guest, apparently) some are mean and crazy, but most are nice. Some are social and some are anti-social. People who live in cities are exposed to dogs. You can fight every dog owner or accept that dogs are part of our world. Dog owners should be polite and not allow their dogs to intrude when they are unwelcome, but also parents of small children should expose their kids to dogs in a responsible way. Kids should always ask first before petting dogs, but parents should tell their kids that most dogs are benign and they don’t need to be phobic of dogs, which are part of everyday life.

    • Mae

      A part of society to be sure, but they should not be an intrusive part. Taking your dog to a restaurant, or shopping, is intrusive to me. I have always had between two to three dogs, but have focused on what is best for them, not me. Dog-enriching play does happen in a grocery store.

      • Animalia

        Dogs are not allowed in grocery stores. If you see one you need to complain, unless it’s a service dog.

  • Man CouchBum Dullen

    There is no bigger of a dog lover than me. I own two vizslas and I work at a dog daycare and training facility, however; dogs going crazy on or off leash is the equivalent to kids running around at the grocery store screaming, in my opinion. My question is this: regardless of whether a dog is an actual service animal or not, are there any standards for not only behavior but also hygiene? A week or so ago I was in a restaurant and a dog was scratching behind its ears, leading me to think that it had fleas.

  • Guest

    As a parent, I sometimes resent the comparison of dogs to kids. I’ve dated men who are dog owners and have equated their dogs with my kid. Please. My kid is not with us on every date. My kid is not in the bed with us at all times. If we go away for the weekend, I do not expect my child to come with us. Kids are not the same as dogs.

    • Brenda Salguero

      I think it’s the sense of entitlement people have. It’s almost the same. Although I’ve seen more irresponsible parents (that let their kids run around screaming) than irresponsible dog owners.

    • Mick Magill

      And I’m willing to bet that my dog is better behaved than your kids. 🙂

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      More and more restaurants that are going ‘no kids’ or kid free, simply because so many parents do not control their child(ren) like most dog owners do.

  • Terri s

    I spend a lot of time in Europe and it seems their dogs are much more well behaved. In Switzerland you have to apply for a dog license before getting a dog and then required to take 8 classes with their dog. Most dogs sit quietly by the owner in a restaurants and do not except anyone to approach them. The dogs barely even acknowledge each other. Americans seem to disregard good manners and too paronoid about having dogs in public areas.

    • Aaron

      Could it be that the Swiss are more conscious of the impact of their behavior, or their dog’s behavior, on those around them? I think your anecdote is basically evidence of a culture that values the collective before the individual.

    • tess

      yes and there it is: the EU is VERY different in almost every way than the US…

    • Beth Grant DeRoos

      Found the same in France and England where we never ever encountered a problem dog out with their human family member.

      Same with children as some writers have noted in books about French children and how they are never an problem eating in a restaurants. Unlike so many American children.

  • Sally

    I hear many comments about dogs providing emotional support as being ” a stretch”. Tell that to soldiers with PTSD that use service dogs for that purpose. The problem is people who don’t follow the law and common sense.

  • jamiebronson

    I regularly see owners not pick up the dog poo. Usually they are talking to some other dog owner and not paying attention to what their dog is doing. Not sure what the fix is for this. Enforcement perhaps. I am glad you are doing this segment though because like the author from Slate I am not a dog lover but rarely say anything because of the strength of the dog coalition. If you try to say anything to a dog owner I get the finger from them. The same kind of attitude you get from bicycle riders that run red lights.

  • Mariko

    I like dogs, but I don’t understand why people feel the need to bring them everywhere they go. It just seems funny now when I see people with a stroller I have to wonder if its a baby or a dog. Sometimes its both.

  • gubblebumm

    Too dog friendly? Really a biased program with that title. I find I make more friends on the streets when I am walking my dogs. We stop we chat, we slow down, we enjoy the interactions. Much different from the people who just look at their phones and ignore their fellow beings. One of your worst shows ever, btw….and most people who say “oh I love dogs, or used to have them, but find them too much now” generally are fibbing

  • Mae

    When did we become such a “binky” culture? I have 2 rescue dogs, but know that they don’t enjoy shopping at Nordstroms or Safeway. I’m tired of dodging selfish dog owners everywhere who can’t bear to leave their pacifiers at home!

  • gubblebumm

    Also, think about how dogs help the ill, the homeless, children, inmates, the elderly…we were walking down the sidewalk and this man who had a stroke was able to pet my dogs, and the smile on his face was priceless, his wife started to tear up, if we weren’t out on the sidewalk, we never would have met

  • Justthefactsnow

    I am sorry, but why is Martha Walters the “expert” here? Why do you not have any professional actually charged with managing these areas on the forum today? SF Parks and Rec, GGNRA, or SF Visious Dog Unit? I was also suprised at your reference to the pitbull attack on the policeman and his horse- you brushed it off like it was nothing.

  • Fay Nissenbaum

    Can we talk about the creepy guys who use their dogs to walk up to women and bother them? Dogs sniff everything and everyone – it is hardly unique that dogs nuzzle strangers. It’s up to the owner to actually use their leash and pull on the darn thing. “Heel !” — anyone remember that command !?
    Narrow city sidewalks need tight leashes – got it?
    Fay (who had a bite scar from an ignored dog on a retractable leash),
    The City

  • guest

    For many, dogs and cats are a substitute for children, causing less impact on the environment than the potential population increase. Consider the impact if each dog and cat was a child instead.

    btw: The descriptive “guardian” is a legitimate substitute for “owner” and serves as a constant reminder that animals should not be treated like property. Neither should children.

  • nicole

    I’m a dog owner/lover but would like to stress to others to be honest: know your dog as he/she is, not how you WANT him/her to be.

    • Mae

      Amen! We’re in the midst of art fair season and it breaks my heart to see people bring their dogs to these events. Burning pavement, crowds stepping on their paws, drinks spilling on them…I wish owners would trying crawling on all fours through this before bringing their “babies” along. Our furry family members are definitely happier when we let them be who they are, and hang at home while we do “people stuff”! 🙂

  • tess

    tell the caller, it’s called a pack and it IS possible to handle 8 dogs at a time…her complaint just underscores the very real fact that there are dog handlers out there who do not know how to handle dogs in a pack.

  • Kelly Koehn

    I am on both sides of the issue! I have dogs and love them to death but I also spend alot of money training and socializing them so they can be in public. Irresponsible dog owners drive me crazy, I wish people understood that they are not a toy or a cheap replacement for a child and need a lot of time and effort and especially money to be in public.

    • Chris

      Agreed!

  • Chris

    Far too many dog owners are “owned” by their dogs. I see a lot more owners who are walked by their dogs, rather than the other way around. These are the same owners who can’t control their dogs. More owners need to take the responsibility of training their dogs. It’s almost a treat to see an owner with a well trained dog.

    • Tyranipocrit

      i had a tee shirt for my dog said I’m the boss. He was well behaved but it was hard to keep him on a leash–that is doggy nature and healthy. Do you want to be on a leash? Sometime i think dog training can be extreme. They are not prisoners. They are furry people.

      • Chris

        Dogs are NOT people. That is the problem. Dog mentality/psychology does not equal human mentality/psychology. If you want a little person; have a child. I have nothing against dogs. I think they make great companions. My issue is with owners who don’t take the time and effort to train their dogs. Just because you think your dog is a person doesn’t mean you can be inconsiderate to other people’s feelings and boundaries. Take your dog to a dog park if you want your dog off the leash.

        And no, I wouldn’t be want to be on a leash. But I also wouldn’t like the idea of being purchased or given away just so my new owner can be happy.

        • Tyranipocrit

          put your brat child on a leash and keep away form me–it doesnt belong in public places. Put a muzzle on it.

  • Chemist150

    Dogs do not belong in the city unless you’re disabled, retired or otherwise can work from home so that you’re around the dog more than not.

    As one guest pointed out that dogs have a large community and need attention. They’re pack animals by nature and when you lock them up alone or even with another dog, they howl whether you admit it or not. In nature, they do this so the lost or deviating pack member can locate the pack. This is frustrating for others in the community. If someone is home during the day and try to take a nap, it’s bad. They could be retired people, they could be people trying to sleep before third shift. It’s almost guaranteed that there is one person on every block that does this to their neighbors and it causes stress to other and the dog.

    Please respect the neighbors and dogs. Don’t get married, buy a house, get a dog, have a kid and evict your dog to the backyard. Think ahead and don’t be selfish.

    I’ve had dogs, I love dogs but I lived in the country.

  • Dan

    The issue is further complicated by loose definition of what services a “service dog” actually provides. I know of several people who simply send away for a little blue doggie shirt that reads “Service Animal”. Please keep that Emotional Support critter away from my table, counter, or desk. Paris Hilton, you are not.

  • Khalid Ramahi

    My neighbors dog German shepard, is aggressive to anyone that walks in there vicinity, one of the main reasons I dislike big dogs. This dog chased a person despite his owners attempt to stop him, I.e he was holding him by leash and the dog overpowered him.

  • Sarah

    Dogs are a source of joy and happiness. They are a source of fun, a sense of freedom and purity. Dogs do not discriminate. They are simple, and most are happy creatures. They provide touch points – and smiles – between strangers. The focus on airing grievances during this Forum’s discussion is more a statement about intolerance and entitlement than it is about dog owners or dogs in the city.

    • Greg Spooner

      Is it intolerance or entitlement that makes me complain about snarling dogs trying to bite me while their owner does nothing, or worse, insults me?

      • Animalia

        Snarling dogs? Wow. I’ve been around dogs all my life and I never get “snarling dogs” trying to bite me. Hmmm.

        • Greg Spooner

          That’s a typical attitude. The problem is mine, and not the dog owners. If I don’t describe the behavior exactly as you would, there must be something wrong with me…

          • Animalia

            I’m not saying that there aren’t bad dog guardians out there any more than I’m saying their aren’t bad parents, bad car drivers, bad drug and alcohol and gun abusers, etc. But you have a fixation with dogs and that is your problem.

          • Angel

            Greg: I am not saying this to be dismissive of your circumstances…but dogs do pick up on hostility. Perhaps why they snarl. Dogs do that when they don’t trust the human won’t hurt them or their guardian. Now I am not saying you would do anything like that, but if the dog senses hostility, a snarl can mean: “Dude, stand your distance.” If you were not raised around pets of any kind, the cross-species communication can get a little muddy. Just sayin’.

    • Mae

      Mine are definitely a source of joy, to me and to my family. I make no assumptions that they will bring the same to strangers. We don’t abuse the service dog privilege by taking ours everywhere we go. Dogs can be annoying to others without being aggressive.

      • Animalia

        People can be annoying. I’m particularly annoyed by loud motorcycles, people wearing perfume, and noisy kids, but living in society and particularly a city, we have to put up with things that may annoy us.

  • amyj1276

    I’m sorry, but your guest is very incorrect. The laws are absolutely NOT being enforced. Go into the Masonic Lucky or the Ocean Beach Safeway and you’ll see a minimum of one or two dogs. I have complained to the employees and the managers on several occasions and they are completely dismissive. In fact, many coo about how cute the dog is!! None who I’ve talked to in the last two years of complaining even know the law about service animals or that they’re allowed to ask a question about it!

  • Enirque

    Dogs are lovely animals and provide great companionship to a lot of people, but to treat them and give them better protection than humans that is not right.

    • Animalia

      Why should dogs not be given the same protections and considerations as humans? They are no different really. We’re all evolved from the same primordial blend. Dogs feel joy, pain, loneliness, love, jealousy, they form relationships and bonds and are full “beings” in any philosophical or ethical sense. Why is it always and either/or discussion with you people? There is plenty of room for love, respect and taking care of all sentient beings, not just “human animals.”

      • lalala

        Because dogs can’t be held accountable in the same way that humans can. We should love and protect dogs, but they should not be treated the same as humans because they are different creatures.

        • Animalia

          Notice I didn’t say “treated the same.” As a feminist, I also don’t believe women and men should be treated the same, nor should children and adults. I said given the same protections and considerations. They are sentient beings that deserve life and liberty as much as is possibly safe for them and for others. I’m addressing the argument that treating dogs well and with respect somehow lessens humanity. What does it matter if someone treats their dog as well as they want? If we were living with full empathy and consideration, we can have enough room to treat all animals well, both human animals and non-human animals.

          • Tyranipocrit

            well said.

        • Tyranipocrit

          so so so wrong. You are wrong and ignorant

    • Tyranipocrit

      “better”–who said that? you just wrong in so many ways

  • Charlotte O’Hanley

    Had dinner in the Mission last night and there were four dogs in the restaurant. Three of them were in the outdoor eating area. Unbelievable!

    • Scott Black

      What is your point Charlotte? Did any of them bother you? Were their owners disrespectful? Did they beg at your table? You just reject their very presence? You can always eat inside where only service animals are permitted. Why deprive folks of the right to enjoy an OUTDOOR patio with their beloved pets as long as they aren’t creating a disturbance.

      • Greg Spooner

        Because one doesn’t know whether or when a strange dog will create a disturbance.

        • Paul

          Greg, one doesn’t know whether or when a strange person in this mission is going to create a disturbance.

          • Greg Spooner

            Paul: all too true. Which is why society has customs, rules, regulations, and laws with enforcement mechanisms in place. To take your example, I wouldn’t want to dine in a Mission outdoor cafe with someone wearing a 3 foot sword in her belt. Nor would I want to dine next to someone with a plastic bag of poop on their table. These things aren’t directly causing a hazard, but we regulate against them because of the likelihood and severity of the potential harm they represent to citizens.

          • Paul

            and society’s rules in the mission (and many other places) have dictated that having a dog in an outdoor space is perfectly legal. I’ve never seen any dog owner at an outdoor public restaurant carrying a bag of poop. Most generally take advantage of nearby trash receptacles, just like parents with babies do with dirty diapers.

          • Greg Spooner

            And I (and many others) want those rules to change.

            You misunderstand my analogy. Just change my example to a bag of human poop, as to get the dog out of it. I’m saying there are lots of things we regulate. Just because they’re a certain way now, doesn’t mean they should be that way. That’s kind of the premise of this particular radio episode isn’t it?

          • Paul

            I didn’t misunderstand you. Lots of people want lots of things. Most people aren’t bothered by a dog on an outside patio, and that’s why it’s become a popular thing — it’s good for business because most people don’t have a problem with it. I’ve seen lots of bags of human poop (i.e., diapers) left in our parks. It doesn’t mean that A) it’s the norm and what 99% of parents do and B) children should be banned from parks. If so many of people like you don’t like it, vote with your dollars and don’t patronize a dog-friendly establishment (there’s plenty that aren’t dog friendly). If there’s so many people like you, then these dog friendly establishments will go out of business and dog-hostile businesses will flourish.

          • Greg Spooner

            Most people drive faster than the speed limit. Not a reason to raise the speed limit. Most people jaywalk. Not a reason to make jaywalking legal.

          • Paul

            First, *most* people do not speed or jaywalk. If you can prove that statement, please do. And, even if most people did it, speeding and jaywalking have a long, DOCUMENTED history of overwhelmingly providing harm to the perpetrators and the general populace (i.e., injury and death). Until you can provide documentation that allowing dogs on outside patios is overwhelmingly harmful to the general population, then your point is moot. Back your claims up with facts. Just because you say something is harmful or might be harmful, doesn’t mean it’s true. And, just because YOU don’t like something is no reason to regulate it.

          • Greg Spooner

            Seriously? Most people don’t speed or jaywalk? Oy.

            I see that we’re not going to agree on the fundamentals of how to regulate civic behavior. It should not be a majoritarian issue. Put another way, because I don’t like, or am harmed by, something does in fact mean I SHOULD try to regulate it (if I desire). That’s how the rights of minorities (of all kinds) are protected in a democracy.

            At least you didn’t question my mental health, as someone else on the pro-dog side has in this forum – I thank you for that courtesy!

          • Paul

            I neither speed nor jaywalk. Again, if you can prove that 51% of citizens regularly do so, please do. Anecdotal evidence from you is not a fact. But, that’s besides the point, really.

            I see you can’t (or won’t) even try to prove that anyone is being harmed by a dog on a patio. Your rights as a “minority” are not being trampled in any way. You’re not being excluded, you’re not being injured, you are not being treated differently, and dog-free space is provided for you at every single restaurant as ALL restaurants don’t allow dogs inside. Lots of people don’t like kids in restaurants, but that’s not going to be regulated anytime soon.

            Your mental health is your own concern. But, as you live in a big city, I suggest you put on your big boy pants and learn to deal with your neighbors, and face the facts that people with dogs aren’t going away, and won’t do so even if you somehow pass some silly regulations.

          • Angel

            I’ve participated in many a park clean up as a volunteer in my day and do NOT get me started about used condoms. And if I had a nickle for every time a volunteer pointed to a pile of goose poop and triumphantly identified it as dog poop…well, I wouldn’t be a millionaire but I sure could buy a dinner at Chez Pannise.

          • Animalia

            I’m annoyed and afraid of many things in the city. I’m afraid of guns (much more dangerous than dogs). I’m annoyed at loud motorcycles. I am allergic to perfumes. Children screaming kills my nervous system. I could go on. We have to deal with things that annoy or frighten us in a city. It’s best to just be a little more laid back and deal with it. Your not very likely to be hurt by a dog.

          • Mick Magill

            I have OFTEN dined out wearing large swords, axes, daggers. Truly. There is no law against it.

            Article 12020 of the Penal Code is applicable, look it up. 🙂

          • Tyranipocrit

            i agreed with your statement but poop is not a dog. If the dog is behaving–fine. for me he is welcome. But poop–yuck–that person is nasty–go throw it away. If it was my establishment they would be asked to leave. But poop and dogs are not the same.

        • Scott Black

          So how do you know that the 6 year old at the next table won’t fling his broccoli in your hair, or “crazy” uncle eddie won’t lose his temper and create a scene. You presume that because its a dog that the likelihood of being disturbed goes up exponentially? So all should be banned? When I walk onto a patio with a bunch of babies I may choose to sit elsewhere because I don’t have the immunity to kid noise that many parents seem to have but I am not suggesting that they shouldn’t be allowed to bring their kids to restaurants. I’ve eaten out with my dog so many times where when we have gotten up to leave folks were surprised to see I had a dog there at all. I can tell you that rarely happens when children are at a restaurant…

          • Greg Spooner

            I don’t know those things. As a society we decide which ones we should regulate more and which we should regulate less. Those of us annoyed or endangered by dogs are saying we need dogs and dog owner behavior regulated more.

          • Tyranipocrit

            regulate poop, and the commons but a private establishment is a private establishment–i think its up to the owner, unless its a food establishment. I wouldn’t bring my dog to a restaurant and expect to get a way with it nor would I feel comfortable.

            But sometimes society has too many rules. America has too many. Its a police state. too many uptight people and too many fascist thugs in power.

            Lets worry about regulating police, politicians, and big business–not furry friends.

          • Animalia

            Well said Scott.

          • Tyranipocrit

            true. And I m with you on dogs but actually there are many places where kids should just not be–like many restaurants and movie theaters–they should be forbidden. This would open a new business industry for good family restaurants who welcome the little brats.

        • Animalia

          I suggest you get some therapy to help you get over your fear of dogs.

          • Greg Spooner

            Do you have a good one you can recommend?

          • Greg Spooner

            Kind of a Godwin’s Law situation. Once someone has questioned your mental health, the discussion is kind of over…

          • Angel

            I think your question is a good one though, Greg. There is a dog trainer — and a veterinarian — in Berkeley who is very well respected and has suggested that folks with insurmountable aversions to dog witness dog training programs. They would be in a controlled environment and would also get the same species transliteration data and tips. Can’t remember the doctor who runs it, but here is the website: http://www.siriuspup.com/

          • Angel

            He started in Berkeley but it looks like they have branched out all over the Bay Area.

          • Greg Spooner

            Angel, Thanks for your concern. However, I don’t have a fear or aversion of dogs. Someone else on this thread suggested I have psychological issues as a means of dismissing my arguments in this forum.

            In fact, I live part time with a dog. Her name is “Molly”, and she is a rescue dog with issues. When I walk her, I have to keep an eye on her, because she’s fearful/aggressive with other dogs and sometimes children. I pick up her poop, she sleeps in my kitchen, I recently discovered a tumor on her neck while investigated her coughing, etc.

        • Angel

          Ah. I’ll make sure my dog doesn’t wear a hoodie or snack on skittles when we walk through your neighborhood.

          • Angel

            Kidding. Sort of.

          • Greg Spooner

            Nice. I carry a non-lethal defense spray to protect against charging dogs (I’ve been charged many times) and I’m a vigilante?

    • Animalia

      Dogs are allowed in outdoor seating areas by law. They are only allowed indoors if they are a service animal. You have a right as a patron to question the restaurant as to whether the dog inside is a service animal.

  • Jon Gold

    service dogs should have tags showing such

    • Animalia

      They do. They have tags, vests and all kinds of things. But these are not required by federal law.

      • lalala

        Only the tags issued by a city or county animal control or animal services agency are official. The vests, harnesses, etc. are not issued by government agencies. Tags aren’t required by federal law, but they are available,but not required, under California law.

        • The point is, that they are not required under federal law. That trumps.

  • TechQ

    Dogs are wonderful companions, for those who choose to have them. When dog populations hit critical mass, it becomes a health and safety problem. Many dogs in a park, even if owners pick up after them, render lawns too filthy for humans to use. Large or yapping dogs intimidate people. Dogs in stores leave messes behind. Even if it’s a small minority of irresponsible dog owners, we’ve hit critical mass where health and safety problems are inevitable. Dogs should be completely banned from retail spaces and limited to dog-designated spaces in parks.

    I’m tired of picking up dog poop on my lawn and having to find the rare space in parks for a picnic that hasn’t been polluted.

  • David Macpherson

    California law expressly allows dogs in outdoor cafes and restaurant patios. The only exception is that the animal may not access the outdoor seating by passing through the enclosed part of the restaurant.

  • Scott Black

    Great comments about the sense of community that dogs create. I have met dozens of people that would never have stopped or even smiled at me were it not for the presence of the pooch. This whole argument boils down to responsible and irresponsible dog owners, and I think it is very analogous to responsible and irresponsible parents and their kids. Ill behaved children shouldn’t be allowed to run a muck bothering whomever, wherever and ditto for dogs. What I resent is the assumption that all owners and dogs should be treated like they are the worst offenders by having their access to places curtailed. Many of us work long hours each week and feel bad about the amount of time our animals have to spend with out us, last thing we want to do on the weekend is leave them at home because we can’t go anywhere with them.

  • jerry.shepard1@gmail.com

    Event organizers and restaurants should not blame the health dept when they do not allow dogs. I have called the health dept and they told me dogs are only not allowed where food is being prepared. The Health dept says dogs a re ok @ events in areas where the food is served but not prepared.

  • Halina

    I was once someone who said “it’s only a dog” but after raising my boxer and mastiff I understand now the love, and yes craze, people have over their dogs. So for those who’ve never raised a dog from 8 weeks of age -you simply cannot grasp this understanding or feeling!!!

    As for “bad dog owners” … you also have equally if not more “bad parenting,” but the latter proves to be more detrimental to society in my view. Irresponsibility is irresponsibility! This is not about a dog lover coddling problem it’s a people problem.

    With that said, dog owners should be forced to adhere to sanitary rules and regulations of businesses by management and be fined for not picking up, as humans are subjected to fines for littering!

  • Animalia

    Yep, just what I thought. This show has been mostly dog bashers whining. There will always be people who abuse freedoms. Many people with children are just as rude. Do we have to listen to every bad encounter anyone ever had with a dog?

    BTW, service dogs are legal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Small dogs can be just as important as service dogs. Many disabilities are not evident and under the ADA, you cannot ask a person what their disability is.

    • Greg Spooner

      You don’t have to listen to every bad encounter anyone has had with a dog. You can just go ahead and be like those irresponsible dog owners and ignore our plight.

      • Animalia

        I’m an extremely responsible dog guardian. However, we could point out where people are irresponsible on so many items, not just with dogs. Restricting dogs, and making dog people look bad is not the answer.

        • Greg Spooner

          What do you think IS the answer?

          • Animalia

            What do you think is the answer to parents who let their kids run wild and crazy? Restrict kids?

          • Greg Spooner

            Yes.

        • lalala

          Lori,

          I am also a responsible dog owner. Your arguments don’t make sense. This is about public health, not making people look bad.

          • Animalia

            People in say France and Germany where dogs are commonly in restaurants, stores, etc. haven’t been coming down with more “dog” diseases to my knowledge. I’m not saying I’m for letting dogs into grocery stores, but I think the health aspect is overplayed. We have many more things likely to hurt us in the food arena.

      • Tyranipocrit

        i’ve never experienced the problems you people are talking about, not being form California so these pleas for help sound absolutely ridiculous to me. i think anyplace where dogs are so popular must be great. it was always hard find accommodation with a dog. Too many dog haters.

    • Mae

      Dog basher or realistic dog lover? I’m the latter, and “mom” to two rescues who doesn’t take hers shopping. It’s about time we had this discussion and should do more to fine tune the ADA loophole that has given people permission to turn grocery stores, the mall and everywhere in between into dog parks.

      • Animalia

        I have a service dog. I have vaso vagal episodes that cause me to faint. My dog can alert me to those episodes and keep me from bashing my head from a fall. I look completely “normal” and no one would see my disability. I have a friend who has severe panic attacks and her dog can calm those so they don’t become full-blown. Be careful about judging someone’s disability that may not be obvious or even valid to you.

        • lalala

          Lori, nobody is judging you. It sounds like you have a valid disability and legitimate need for service dog. I have many friends and acquaintances who have purchased “service dog” harnesses and vests just so they can take their dogs everywhere. That is wrong. I think the ADA will soon mandate that all service dogs be required to wear a state issued tag.

  • littlebb

    I am a big dog lover and owner, but believe dogs do not belong everywhere, but we do need more dog friendly spaces for responsible dog lovers/owners to enjoy. I have lived in a more dog friendly place and actually find CA less dog friendly. I also do not expect anyone to love my dog the way I do, again my responsibility. Owning a dog comes with responsibility and those less responsible make it difficult for all of us.

    • Greg Spooner

      That is a very civic attitude, littlebb! Yay!

  • B. Zimmerman

    I love dogs, my family has had them since I was little. Living near
    Bernal Hill I interact with them a lot. Many owners are responsible but
    more are oblivious; they throw balls over & over eroding the same
    patch of hill. People who complain have been called “plant nazis”.
    Owners are often gathered socializing and don’t pay attention to where the dogs
    are running. Several people have almost been knocked over by running
    dogs. Did the owner apologize? No. There is no time of day on Bernal
    Hill without dogs.

    • Greg Spooner

      As Bernal resident, I could not agree more.

  • Emily

    I think that the last comment made about designating certain hours as off leash hours is a very intriguing solution and one worth more discussion. When I lived in Seattle, dog owners were often the only users of parks early in the morning and late evening. It is an excellent solution to populate the parks during the hours of lower use and allow dog owners to feel like they get to exercise their dogs and use the park. I have to admit that I do let my dog off leash but very responsibly, only when there is no one else around and we are not bothering anyone. It is frustrating to get a warning or a ticket that your dog should be on a leash when there is no one else using the park!

    San Francisco may be lenient on dogs but Sonoma County is quite the opposite. I am shocked that most state parks and some county parks do not allow any dogs, not even on leash, but yet allow horses. Someone please explain that logic.

    • Justthefactsnow

      Actually the timing solution would not work because it would displace the professional dog walkers since they operate while we are at work.

  • Mark E

    If bands of college students were paid to run around beaches, parks and opens spaces sniffing our crotches, eating our food, crapping and pissing where we walk barefoot, polluting our waterways, we’d think about this differently. We’d ask those ‘humans’ to get civilized or face the law. Dogs are given amazing latitude. Their feces is as disgusting and unhealthy as ours, why do we need so much of it on our beaches and parks? No kid is allowed to do what dogs do. I propose someone run a paid experiment and videotape to see what happens when humans act like dogs.
    Mind you I LIKE dogs and have many friends with dogs I love romping with. But that is MY call, not the dogs’. I don’t let my friends crap in parks and leave it or bother people without being extremely embarrassed.

    • Greg Spooner

      …don’t forget charging, barking, biting and knocking us down…

      • Tyranipocrit

        biting?–come on. thats about as rare as a terrorist event–that is to say media extravaganza and mass hysteria. A dog that bites was likely trained to bite–pity the dog. And terorists were trained by FBI–very similar.

  • Citizen Canine Oakland

    The main point of contention between dog owners and non-dog lovers is interaction. Non-dog lovers have the right not to interact with dogs. Dog owners who do not respect that in public spaces create problems for all. However, dog owners who are legitimately trying to socialize and train their dogs to be respectful members of society, need the space and opportunity to do so in safe, real world situations. Training classes and doggy daycares are a great foundation, but rock solid training necessitates practicing it in the real world with higher levels of distraction and many different environments/situations. Non-socialized and trained dogs become the skittish, shy or aggressive dog that is a greater bite liability for all. The key to successful co-existence between dogs, dog owners and non-dog lovers is owner responsibility, management and enough sanctioned, welcoming, safe areas for owners to be able to socialize, exercise and train their dogs to be friendly, respectable members of the community. When that happens, there are many benefits: therapy dog teams who help veterans, elderly and children, search and rescue dog teams who provide their services in disaster situations, bomb and drug sniffing dogs who keep our communities safer, etc.

  • abithumanist

    I know that comparing children to dogs only fuels the fire
    of anti-dog hatred here in the Bay Area, but I think it’s more than apt
    here. We don’t just have a dog-owner
    problem, we have a human problem in the increasingly self-indulgent, egocentric,
    hypocritical mecca that is San Francisco.
    Not everyone has children or enjoys their company and while I actually
    happen to be a big fan, here are some of the gems I’ve witnessed:

    -A mother, apparently a member of the “Elimination
    Communication” movement (no diapers, for those not familiar with this obnoxious
    parlance), hold her young baby up over a tree to use the bathroom in a public
    park frequented by children of all ages

    -Poorly behaved children and babies in not only restaurants
    but BARS, misbehaving, screaming, yelling and otherwise running amok. This being such an issue that some bars and
    restaurants have banned children, much to the dismay of
    I-need-to-take-my-child-everywhere parents.

    -I’ve witnessed countless children wipe snot as well as
    other unpleasant bodily fluids (including one child digging for something in his
    pants prior to a pleasant running of his hand along the wall) all over items in
    public libraries, restaurants and even the grocery store

    -At a public playground, parents sitting on the bench
    chatting while their children get into all kinds of either gross or unfriendly
    trouble. Just a week ago, I watched a
    bigger child push a young child hard to the ground prompting immediate tears from
    the little one with no parents in sight

    Are all parents bad? Are all children
    bad? Are all dog owners bad? Are all dogs bad? No, but there are certainly a few obnoxious
    and inconsiderate people in the world – perhaps increasing empathy rather than
    decreasing it would be the best solution.

  • Wendy Moshir-Fatemi

    I’m a professional dog walker and in my experience, no, the Bay Area isn’t excessively dog friendly. There are few spaces to take advantage of where dog walkers (commercial or otherwise) can simply walk their dogs on leash or off without the stress of (sorry, there’s no other way to put this) dog haters.

    I see a number of comments where people have voiced concern about dog walkers not picking up waste, not paying attention to their dog(s), letting their dogs off leash in non-sanctioned areas, and in general just allowing for bad behavior (jumping, aggressiveness, approaching strangers who may not want to be approached, etc) and it pains me to read these comments because I know that myself and a number of other dog walkers take these issues seriously and work hard to keep the spaces we use clean and our pack under control. The stakes are frankly too high; every dog walker that doesn’t act within the law is frankly jeopardizing our livelihoods and the quality of life for our dogs.

    Enforcement of the rules is important. Having park personnel do waste “stings” when the park is in highest use by dog owners might be a clever idea. Individual dog owners need to do their part. It’s nice to chitchat with friends when you’re out and about, but if you’re walking your dog you really should be paying attention to your dog.

    Moreover, offering dog owners more space to walk their dogs (both on leash and off!) when and/or where they know they can avoid the non-dog owning public is necessary.

    I will say this as an aside.. as a dog owner you can do everything right and STILL come under fire from people who frankly just don’t like dogs.

  • MB

    I’d never actually read the ADA’s guidelines for service animals. It was a very interesting read. One point that stood out to me was that a service animal must be specially trained to perform a specific task (remind someone to take medication, calm a person during an anxiety attack etc) They specifically mention PTSD. It also states that an animal that only provides comfort and emotional support does not qualify as a service animal under the ADA guidelines.

    That being said, I think greater restriction is NOT the answer. The respectful dog owners out there are already pretty rule-abiding. They are the ones who would suffer under tighter restrictions. The people who are breaking the rules right now will continue to break them.

    Personal responsibility is key here. As a dog owner, it’s my responsibility to keep my dogs with me, pick up their poop, be respectful of rules. But it’s YOUR responsibility to sit inside if my dog bothers you, and keep your children from running up to my dogs without asking, to cross the street if you feel afraid or to make your fear known to me so I can pull my dogs in closer. We are each part of the equation. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about rude and disrespectful dog owners, and I’ve had difficult interactions with people like that myself. But I’ve also feel that the dogs and their owners are ALWAYS the ones blamed first. The non-dog having party is always the victim.

    I especially worry about this when it comes to kids. I’ve had to facilitate many an interaction between a curious child and my dogs (who are very tolerant and friendly, thankfully) when the child’s parent is far behind them on the sidewalk or distracted with another child. I’ve had small children on Scoot bikes crash into me or practically run over my dogs. And I’ve also seen amazing parents navigate sharing the sidewalk with grace where their kids get to have a great dog experience and my dogs get to have a great kid experience. We all share responsibility in this conflict and to put so much emphasis on the fault of dog owners in this program feels unfair and too one-sided to me.

    It makes me sad when I hear people singling out Pitbulls and Rottweillers. Just like with people, it doesn’t help to judge a book by it’s cover. Little harmless looking dogs can be biters and big, menacing looking dogs can be heart-melting sweethearts. If you’re nervous, ask. Most dog owners are happy to provide you with information about their dog.

    And dogs are animals. Even the most well-behaved kid is going to throw a tantrum sometimes. Even the most well-behaved dog may not recall instantly, or may get scared and bark. I think it’s how both parties respond to these instances that allow us all to find a solution.

    If anyone else is curious about ADA guidelines and would like to read them…here’s a link http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm

    I do agree it’s nice to have a forum to discuss this.

    MB
    A rule abiding dog owner who wishes there were MORE places to take dogs, not fewer. Thanks

    • Animalia

      Thanks MB. Very nicely put. I’d add one thing though. A dog that provides comfort and emotional support is called a Therapy Dog. Therapy Dogs are service dogs, but are not covered under the ADA and must have a doctor’s letter (for certain businesses such as airlines, for example). These dogs can also be taken to hospitals and nursing homes as well as providing therapy for their guardians.

      • MB

        Thanks Lori. I am familiar with Therapy Dogs. What I was noticing is that the ADA guidelines seem to draw a distinction between Service and Therapy Dogs. One of the discussion topics that everyone seems to have feelings about is the possible abuse of the Therapy/emotional support dog title. It didn’t seem clear to me if businesses like restaurants, grocery stores etc are required to allow people to have Therapy Dogs in the same way they are required to allow Service Dogs(I’m thinking they are not). Even airlines require that you show extensive documentation to be allowed to carry them under that title. Therapy dogs do not seem to be automatically allowed exception without documentation.

      • Christina Jacobs

        Therapy Dogs are NOT Service Dogs, they are well trained pets that visit hospitals, schools, etc. Their handlers are not disabled and have no right to bring the dog into public access situations.

  • Never Be Late Again

    I love dogs, but many sf dog owners are very rude. I used to have a front yard. No more – it’s been ruined by dog pee and poop. My neighbors’ once pretty yards are the same. Signs and fences don’t seem to work. Come on peeps – this is private property you’re ruining. i’m only two blocks from chrissy field! Can’t you go there?

  • Sunny Walters

    You missed an opportunity to use your forum to educate your audience as to the real problem -too many dogs. I’ll wager that the Slate fellow is a libertarian who opposes the regulation of the puppy mills on principal, then whines about how uncomfortable he is around ALL these annoying dogs. Every effort to address the explotion of puppy mills, pumping out dogs, is attacked by Libertarian anti-taxers, which means they are the reason there are so many dogs to begin with. When a market is glutted, the item loses its value, diamonds for example. San Francisco is place where dogs are so worthless they are thrown from cars, beaten blind and brain damaged, starved, RAPED, tortured. Here is the problem, many of the same people who defend free runs for dogs in public parks, are libertarians who fight regulation of breeders. Sally Stevens is a good example, member of parks and rec. she stands up for dogs in parks. I begged her to help in the regulation of puppy mills. Sally stevens replied she believes in “personal responsibility”…….no no new taxes it is a matter principal.

  • Sunny Walters

    Your show on dogs was vapid twaddle. Thanks to libertarians refusal to regulate puppy mills, there are too many dogs. Instead of berating those of us who adopt these older dogs, rescued from horrific situations, provide vet care, good food, love., and exercise, you choose to focus on how annoying they are. The majority of dogs overrunning San Francisco are rescued from puppy mills or were purchased from puppy mills. You might also want to raise your awareness on the subject by researching where the money comes from to fight any welfare law regarding animals, pets and farm practices. The NRA Provides the money, libertarians and mega animal factories provide the votes the NRA corp needs to glut the market with guns. TOO MANY UWANTED DOGS TOO MANY GUNS!

  • Tyranipocrit

    i had a pit bull lab that looked mostly like a pit bull. The sweetest dog that i’ve ever known. he even understood that infants and babies were to be treated differently. he approached strangers according to how they wanted to be approached. He saved my life three times. I saved his twice. He was a big swimmer–he even loved swimming underwater–never known a dog to do that before– it’s is bad for their ears, but this dog had a habit of diving underwater and cleaning the bottom of all its sticks. Sometimes he was under for 30 seconds or more. he would wrap his arms over my shoulders and hug me. Everyone loved him. he was very good with other dogs. One time he was without a leash and some whining misinformed lunatics called the dog catcher and claimed a vicious pitt bull was roaming the neighborhood. The dog catcher came and according to him–and i know it to be true–my dog jumped into the van into his lap and started kissing him. he found me on the trail and delivered him to me, in love. he mocked the lunatics who called in calling him vicious.

    Some people are the biggest whiners–just nancy’s –have no patience for them–they are just absurd.

    But i do understand the need to have control of your dog and teach it manners and that not everyone likes dogs–so me and my dog were always able to read people before socializing. I hate it when people don’t clean up after their dog. Fortunately–i didn’t have to –he was very good about using private areas in woods and such. he would never poop in public and it had to be the perfect spot. Never in his life did he poop in unacceptable places and I did not have to teach him that. He is gone now–recently. I have never had a closer friend. People who say or think dogs and cats do not share the same emotions as we humans are just ignorant. And I question their so-called human relationships. If i ever met a girl who didn’t like dogs–she was instantly deleted from my life–not worthwhile and not somebody i wanted to be around. I never regretted it. If i was a human parent i suppose i would feel the same way about children. Though i respect those who don’t want children around. If you don’t like my dog i don’t want you around and i understand if you don’t want me or my dog around–c ya wouldn’t want to be ya.

  • Christina Jacobs

    The Americans with Disabilities Act specifically states that there is no National registration or licensing for Service Animals. Individual states may have such laws, but Federal trumps local and, as a result, local government entities may NOT require individuals with disabilities to register their Service Animals.

  • Christina Jacobs

    The ADA clearly states that a Service Animal is a dog individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. Just because someone has a “certification” doesn’t mean the dog is legally considered a Service Animal. In fact, if you call your dog a Service Animal when you are not disabled, you are committing fraud.

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