(dglassme/Flickr)

Many Bay Area canine owners are fuming over the latest dog management plan for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Dog owners had hoped the National Park Service would adjust its controversial draft plan, which restricts dog access in areas it controls, including San Francisco’s Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston. But most of the changes remain. The Park Service says the rules are needed to protect wildlife and vegetation.

Guests:
Howard Levitt, director of communications and partnerships at Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Sally Stephens, chair of the San Francisco Dog Owners Group
Neal Desai, associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association

  • thucy

    One of the PRBO (Point Reyes Bird Observatory) volunteers said to me last week of the overall behavior of GGNRA with respect to locals: “It’s arrogance.” Damn right it is.
    I could care less about the dog issue, but as a taxpayer I am outraged that GGNRA actually exonerated the female ranger who tased a 51-y.o. cardiac patient. Said ranger tased him not because he had his lapdogs off-leash, but because he had already complied with the leash law and had the temerity to question the ranger’s authority.
    That woman ranger should have been criminally charged for unnecessary tasering. These rangers really behave as if they’re on a NY cop show. It’s absurd! One of them referred to an elderly African-American park visitor as a “gang-banger.” Where do they find/attract so many rangers/park police who are contemptuous of the very people WHOM THEY ARE PAID AND GENEROUSLY BENEFITED TO SERVE?

    • David

      wow, what a wonderful example of the fallacy of hasty generalization.

      • thucy

        Clearly you have no experience with the divisiveness GGNRA introduced into a variety of pre-existing conservation groups as it struggled to assert its ultimate authority.

        • David

          wow, what a wonderful example of the fallacy ad hominem.

  • Truth

    San Francisco contains an exceptionally large number of safe, legal off-leash dog parks: at least 28, and in a city that is only seven square miles, that gives San Francisco the highest density of dog parks of any city in the Nation, probably the world. San Francisco has more off-leash dog parks than Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, and Los Angeles COMBINED.

    Yet anti-leash groups like SF DOG aren’t satisfied. They continue to claim that there is not enough space for off-leash dogs to roam in San Francisco, despite the evidence. Indeed, Sally Stephens, the self-appointed leader of the anti-leash organization, sent an e-mail missive demanding even more off-leash areas in San Francisco’s parks, and attacking San Francisco’s award-winning and progressive Natural Areas Program because it doesn’t adhere to her anti-leash philosophy.

    • MistOfTheCity

      If people have the right to take their kids that run in much of the same areas as dogs, or off-road biking, or any other form of recreation that then why can’t people have their dogs, too? This is just a NIMBY response.

      And, Sally Stephens is not self-appointed. People appoint her to that position and she is recognized as one of the major leaders. Open your ears and you will hear the others, too.

      • amyj1276

        I’m quite tired of hearing dogs being equated to or compared to kids. Dogs are not kids. Period. That doesn’t take anything away from the feelings and love that dog owners have for their dogs, but at the end of the day, dogs are pets, not people. Not children. The crazy dog people who continue to compare their dogs to children just make it harder for responsible dog owners.

        • SaveOffLeash.com

          This sentiment is a great example of the lack of understanding or empathy. Factually, an adopted child is not one’s offspring, but who would make that callous claim?

          Until this is fully understood and accepted by dog owners, there will be a big divide: For dog owners (parents), their dog is as important to them as anyone’s child is to them. Punctuate all you want, but this does not change the reality or priority to one third of families that have dogs in SF.

  • amyj1276

    While people line up to complain about policies that they feel will
    undermine their dogs’ happiness and livability in the city, where is the outrage about policies, or a lack of policies, that make the city
    livable for women and families? With housing unaffordable for most, childcare unavailable and prohibitively expensive, schools unnavigable, and public transit unreliable and inefficient, it seems that arguments about the availability of dogs’ open space is perhaps a bit out of place. I do realize and respect that some people choose to have pets over children; however, it seems misguided to create and maintain a city that is more livable for dogs than it is for families. Especially when there are so many irresponsible dog owners who refuse to abide by leash laws in any case. I’ve limited my walking on Land’s End, in Golden Gate park, in Sutro park, and in other places because there are so many people who refuse to leash their dogs, even though there are signs that clearly say dogs must be on leashes. And don’t even get me started on how many oblivious dog owners now feel it’s OK to bring their dogs into grocery stores and other shops.

    • thucy

      An excellent point. One might also ask of GGNRA how much of its labor for the park comes from non-benefited, non-salaried, unpaid interns. Just because it’s national, doesn’t mean it fails to exploit labor.

      • Mrs. Eccentric

        non sequitor.

      • NSA is Unamerican

        “I have a job that is a joke”
        therefore
        “NO way I’m picking up all that dog poop”.

        This reminds me of the discussion of restaurants from a few days ago.

    • SaveOffLeash.com

      The sure path to continued conflict is continuous blame. The path to coexistence is understanding. I hope we can all make an effort to understand. Thus questions are good. Inflammatory accusations, not so much.
      Are all of these citizens that do not adhere strictly to offleash rules bad people? Perhaps another explanation is that there are not enough off leash areas to serve dog families. Further restriction will only create greater problems and conflict.

    • Felix

      It has been said that Americans care more about their pets than they do about the homeless.

      In general the haves do not care about the have-nots.

  • Jennette Leal

    I am both a dog lover and dog owner. Having lived all over this country, the level of importance given to “dog rights” here is impressive, to say the least. I understand how wonderful it is to be able to take your dog into the great outdoors. Unfortunately my experience has been that people aren’t cleaning up after or leashing their dogs. Dogs are awesome, but they don’t belong in sensitive environments and I’m tired of stepping into dog waste. It’s not like the San Francisco area has a shortage of lovely places to walk and play with your dog.

    • MistOfTheCity

      Do you have a solution instead of a complaint? Many times people run out of bags or dogs have loose stools that cannot be picked up. SF Recreation & Parks do not install Poop Bag Stations on purpose to allow this increase so people like you will complain. Complain to RPD to install more Poop Bag Stations like most of the rest of the country does. It’s easy and cheap.

    • SaveOffLeash.com

      An ill behaved few is not an argument for removing benefits for an entire group. If that were the case, no one would be allowed to drive.

    • Miguel

      What exactly are you referring to as a “sensitive environment”? Am sincerely curious.

  • Lana

    Dogs are off leash everywhere you go, regardless of on-leash requirements. Now that I have a toddler, I find it difficult in SF to find a nice open grassy space or beach area where we don’t have to worry about dog poop and dogs running into the little guy who’s just learning to become stable on his feet.

  • Jon Cal

    The evidence of how big the problem is visible. Low tide is dinner time for many birds at Ocean Beach and dog owners are training their dogs to chase the birds by throwing balls into the feeding flocks. The waste of the dogs is a minefield everywhere above the tide at Ocean Beach. Dog owners are letting their dogs tear up the restoration of Sutro Dunes every single day. I live there so I see it. Every single day. My question is how will the Park Service enforce these much needed and overdue rules.
    Jon of San Francisco

    • MistOfTheCity

      That is such a stupid statement with no factual evidence. This is just your subjective opinion.

  • i_witness

    the “1% available to dog owners” seems understated when you consider that probably a large portion of GGNRA is inaccessible to most people – dogs or not. so i’d like to know what an accurate number really is?

    • MistOfTheCity

      The GGNRA will say affirmatively that ~50,000 of ~90,000 acres are accessible (an increase after the recent acquisition of Rancho Corral de Tierra in Montara).

      That makes the case even moreso!

      1% of 50,000 is 500 acres.
      GGNRA restrictions will reduce that by 90%!
      So, 10% access that is less of 500 acres is 50 acres.

      Sorry, that is less than the available space in SF city parks which are already pretty overcrowded.

      The Board of Supervisors specifically requested of the GGNRA to provide a study of measurable impact of these restrictions on overflow into city parks. This new proposal from GGNRA does *NOT* address that whatsoever.

      The results are very clear here.

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    I appreciate Ms. Stephen’s passion and advocacy for dogs. However, i was a bit put off by her casual reference to humpback whales. Believe it or not, when i go to the GGNRA, i’m more interested in seeing a humpback whale, or any whale, than i am a dog.

    I believe that dog interest’s would be better advanced if more dog owner’s groups focused on creating more polite and responsible dogs and owners. I live a half mile away from Paso Nogal off-leash dog park and just about every 2 months i encounter a lost dog, running wild with no owner in sight. With nerve damage and a history of blood clots i am in no position to try to rescue these poor animals, and as a dog lover it breaks my heart. We need more emphasis on responsible dog ownership. steph

    • SaveOffLeash.com

      I think you missed her point. The GGNRA claims that dogs threaten endangered species, of which they include Humpback whales. Isn’t that suspect?

      • Mrs. Eccentric

        no, i don’t think so. steph

        • Miguel

          You don’t think the GGNRA mentioning humpback whales in the same conversation is suspect?! Really? My dog barks at the whales, I’m guessing Howard and the army of NPS bureaucrats are arguing this somehow endangers the whale? What an upside down world we live in.

          • Mrs. Eccentric

            my time is not infinite, this will be my last post.

            i never said i wanted a non-dog experience.

            i said that i want for people, dogs, and other animals to be safe.
            Letting your dog out of your car onto a busy street with blind curves
            and blind hills, at rush hour, where people continually speed, in a
            place full of other dogs, squirrels (tree and ground), skunks, snakes
            (gopher, king, racers), coyote, fox, wild turkey and all types of other
            birds, **without** leashing your dog until you reach the fenced area for
            off leash dog activity is patently UN safe for everyone – but mostly
            for the DOGS.

            Read some of my other comments on this page if you truly are
            interested in the concerns of many dog lovers re: irresponsible dog
            owners. steph

        • SaveOffLeash.com

          Then please explain how dogs threaten Humpback whales in the GGNRA (or anywhere for that matter).

  • amyj1276

    The commenter who stated that she would take her dogs off leash everywhere simply because she feels she has the right to represents the exact problem with irresponsible dog owners. Shame.

    • MistOfTheCity

      Making comments thinking they are definitive statements doesn’t help. It’s just your subjective opinion.

      People feel they have the right to bring their vehicles anywhere they want. Bikers go in sensitive spaces all the time creating gouging trails and disrupting nature all the time. Off-road vehicles rip up desert spaces.

      It is not irresponsible whatsoever to bring your family companion with you wherever one wants to go. It is not irresponsible. You are just indifferent to it. Thus the argument.

      • amyj1276

        You clearly didn’t hear the comment on the air and are responding to your own interpretation without knowing what you’re actually responding to.

    • SaveOffLeash.com

      The point was: if things get too restrictive (e.g., even more than they are already), people will have no choice but to go where they can.
      As an example, the MTA does not install stop signs to slow traffic because they know that if they are over restrictive, drivers will ignore them, which will then undermine the entire system. The NPS/GGNRA does not understand they are flirting with this “broken window” syndrome threshold.

  • s4rosenquest

    Owning a dog brings responsibilities. If you live in the city you have to accept its limitations. If you really want wide open off-leash spaces, move to the country. And yes, I have always lived in the company of dogs.

    • Miguel

      Silly argument considering that these lands were owned by the city/locl government and the GGNRA promised to maintain dog access. I could flip your argument on its head and say if you have a problem with dogs move to a different city.

  • Mrs. Eccentric

    WHAT!!! Sally Stephens says that you’re older and can’t control a dog on leash so you should walk them OFF LEASH??!?!!

    This is a classic example of the type of dog-crazy person that gives dogs a bad name. steph

    • MistOfTheCity

      And, why not? Can’t tell you how many times my grandma was pulled down by her small poodle but when that dog was trained well to walk off-leash, no more falls.

      That was Sally’s point. Stop being confrontational because you just can and have opportunity here. Make a salient point instead of an attack.

      • Mrs. Eccentric

        First, i would like to say how glad i am that your grandma had a wonderful experience with training her dog to walk off leash. I love dogs, and love people too 🙂

        “..why not?” as i pointed out in another comment, i live about half a mile from Paso Nogal off-leash dog park in Pleasant Hill. Over the years i’ve seen numerous near-car hits, and lost dogs running wild near the park (and about one lost dog every couple of months near my house).

        Everyone thinks they have their dog under great voice control. But what happens when the dog sees a squirrel, or a bird, or smells an unusual and exciting smell, or is startled by a car back firing, or or or….? In the case of my sister and her obsessively trained off leash dog, the dog got hit by a car (luckily she survived with very small injuries). In the case of many dogs here near the dog park, they go lost and i am generally unable to catch them (as i have nerve damage in my legs).

        This does not even address the ‘ick’ factor of people who won’t clean up their dog’s poop, and the people who let their dogs jump up on people and other dogs without even asking permission – i could be fairly severely injured if i fell (a likely possibility with my condition). So am i supposed to never use any of the open areas or park facilities in my own communities? Or how about we try to live together amicably?

        I have no doubt i come across as confrontational. I am confronted by these very vexing problems outside my own front door every day. Right now there is a very cute looking chihuahua type dog hanging around my street, looking lost but who knows as he or she will not come to me (over the last 2 days). I feel terrible about what may happen to this dog, and the feelings of it’s family. But i’m not in a position to take on the responsibility for all these lost dogs at the drop of a hat whenever they show up.

        And it only takes about ten minutes at the dog park on a busy day to see thru the fallacy of ‘under voice control’. I hope this helps you understand my viewpoint, have a great day, steph

        • SaveOffLeash.com

          Setting the bar of perfect voice control is unreasonable. People and children are not 100% reliable. I cringe at the risks I see parents putting their children in every day. That doesn’t mean put all children on leash. However, dog owners should be held accountable; poop should be picked up. Dog owners agree with this. The solution is not banning all well behaved dog owners.

          I walk with my dog off leash and can’t tell you how many smiles we get, how many compliments, how many parents appreciate the opportunity for their kids to meet a friendly dog.

          We live in an era of greater isolation from our planet, environment and animals. We should be welcoming opportunities to interact with animals and educate. And if you want a “non-dog experience”, there are far greater ratio of those than of non-dog owners.

          • Mrs. Eccentric

            my time is not infinite, this will be my last post.

            i never said i wanted a non-dog experience.

            i said that i want for people, dogs, and other animals to be safe. Letting your dog out of your car onto a busy street with blind curves and blind hills, at rush hour, where people continually speed, in a place full of other dogs, squirrels (tree and ground), skunks, snakes (gopher, king, racers), coyote, fox, wild turkey and all types of other birds, **without** leashing your dog until you reach the fenced area for off leash dog activity is patently UN safe for everyone – but mostly for the DOGS.

            Read some of my other comments on this page if you truly are interested in the concerns of many dog lovers re: irresponsible dog owners. steph

          • SaveOffLeash.com

            Steph,
            These repeated arguments used (poop, dogs eating my lunch, near cars, etc.) are anecdotes of poor dog owners. That does not condemn all dog owners. There are many responsible dog owners who are happy to address these same issues (dog poop, risk to dogs health, risk to children — many of us are parents too!), so rather than infringe and antagonize the entire dog community, let’s work together to solve the real problems and find common ground. For example, let’s penalize offenders. It may at first glance seem easier just to create a blank restriction to all dog owners than address the real problem, but what’s often missed are the repercussions of the ill chosen solution.

          • Mrs. Eccentric

            hi. i never called for a blanket restriction on off leash dog areas. i have repeatedly called for responsible dog ownership (and indeed, have practiced such myself). thank you for addressing a straw man, steph

          • SaveOffLeash.com

            Not a straw man, just a different point. There are several reasons why on-leash is actually on the better alternative. Sally was simply giving an example of one.
            Another one: Dogs on-leash are more aggressive than off. Why? because you remove their ability for flight. Thus, they must stand their ground. Watch for it, most of the time when you see dogs barking at each other or even one at the other, it’s mostly the dog(s) on leash, not the dog off leash.

          • TrainedHistorian

            Wrong. The vast majority of public outside areas are by definition not “dog-free.” LIke many others, I cannot afford (in money or time) to travel to some far-off “dog-free” place for a walk.

  • daniel

    Why do dog owners feel the rest of the world must submit to them. Just last week I was at the beach standing next to a no dogs allowed sign and was accosted by two off leash dogs and an obnoxious owner yelling “buddy, buddy, buddy, …”. And I saw a huge doberman jump into a flower garden and dig up all the flowers up as the owner just stood there and said, “Bad dog”. Maybe instead of more off leash spaces we should have mandatory dog owner training and licensing!

    • MistOfTheCity

      There are no flower gardens at the beach. What are you talking about. Sounds like you’re just making this up because there is a discussion topic opportunity for you.

      Also, your suggestion of no off-leash spaces AND training and licensing is *oxymoronic*.

      The idea should be that *after* training and licensing then people may bring their dogs to these open spaces.

  • Juney

    My question is the following: Does Howard have a dog? Doesn’t seem so as his comments reflect a lack of understanding of how much the companionship of a pup can mean. We have two dogs and we have been educated by wonderful dog walkers and trainers on the importance of taking care of them by training them well and making sure we, as the owners, understand the importance of picking up after them. But most importantly, we have learned that we are responsible for training our dogs so everyone can enjoy being outside. I’d like to hear Howard explain how much they are proposing changing what currently exists. As I understand they will drastically limit what exists today, for example, at the park we love, Fort Funston. I think that listening to GGNRA is like trying to vote, there is so much detail being left out

  • Kristilinamarie

    I have a dog, and I wish people would keep their dogs ON LEASH. My dog is not comfortable with other dogs running up to him, so we can’t enjoy parks with our dog because so many other people keep their dogs off leash. What about our rights to enjoy parks?

    • MistOfTheCity

      I would suggest and appreciate if you would try to help your dog have the enjoyment of socializing with others of his kind. It’s easy. And, I do understand what you are experiencing.

      There are ways you can disallow this just in the interaction. For instance, if you stand in front of your dog as the other approaches and make yourself big like standing tall and putting your hand on your hips many times an approaching dog will avert themselves. Dogs respond to bipeds (beings on two feet) much like a bear standing up on their hind legs.

    • Ramona

      I am sorry you have had issues with other dog owners this seems like a lack of awareness on behalf of the other dog owner. If I am in an area that allows dogs off-leash with my dog off-leash I am mindful when I see a dog on-leash and call my dog back put her under control until I know what the other dog-owner is comfortable with. Sometimes I am asked to put her back on leash other times not. But this is common sense and courtesy issue (a people issue) that all dog owners should be mindful of in order to maintain our access to these areas. I would advocate for more enforcement and clarification of current laws rather than make all areas leash only. In Portland, Oregon there are designated dog areas where parks will have designated off-leash hours posted and enforced. This ensures that there are times for all dog owners (no matter what the leash preference) has options and access. Depending on the season and level of use by school children these times will expand and contract.

    • SaveOffLeash.com
  • rocky

    I think these rules are absolutely fair. I’m a dog owner, and I don’t feel the need to have my dog off-leash all of the time. When I want to let my dog run free (I enjoy this because watching him is a beautiful thing), I have options including Fort Funston. I am continually amazed that this entire area has been allocated to dogs and hang gliders. What an incredible gift! Perhaps we should appreciate all that we have rather than scratching for a few more acres of space.

    • AmyLassiter

      but they are going to further restrict where you can bring your dog in Fort Funston, and if you look at the GGNRA website you can see how long the list is of places that they don’t allow dogs at all. I agree with restrictions but why can’t you have a dog on a leash in many of these other areas?

      • MistOfTheCity

        Because of the 85,000+ taxpayer-paid-for acres the GGNRA manages, currently, just 1% is open to people who wish to enjoy the GGNRA with their dogs.These new PROPOSED restrictions are set to reduce that 1% by 90%.

        If you then want to cram all the same people into a smaller space I think the result is pretty obvious.

        Let’s be clear this is a public access issue to taxpayer public property. It doesn’t belong to the GGNRA. They are just the stewards of our land.

        People from all over from tourists to

        East Bay folks who have no beachfront to
        residents visit GGNRA as it is purely an urban area thus the reason why Phil Burton in his infinite wisdom specifically call this Golden Gate National RECREATION AREA, and not National Park.

        Let’s be clear of this distinction as we discuss forward. This is about public access and challenging recreation.

    • SaveOffLeash.com

      Who is “scratching for a few more acres of space”?
      The GGNRA has employed a very old and effective negotiation tactic. They came out with a proposed dog management plan which initiated change — very restrictive change (to dog owners). Now, they make it look like they are giving in because they are offering additional space compared with the previous overly restrictive plan.
      This is like the store that offers huge sales discounts (because their normal prices are already so inflated).
      Why is the NPS/GGNRA spending $millions to propose these changes? Because they anecdotally claim (and Neal even admitted they don’t feel science is needed) that there is a problem. HOWEVER, they make no attempt to consider the greater problems their proposed changes will create.
      Let sleeping dogs lie.

  • Brent Plater

    Voice control advocates are caught in a tautology.

    If a dog is off-leash and nothing bad happens, that supposedly proves that voice control works.

    If a dog is off-leash and something bad happens, voice control advocates claim that particular dog was NOT, by definition, under voice control: so under this strange logic, this bad event also proves voice control works!

    It looks like the GGNRA is just starting to realize how nonsensical this position is. But it has a long way to go before the GGNRA becomes safe for people, our pets, wildlife, and the parks.

    Physically demarcated off-leash dog play areas in select areas and leash law enforcement everywhere else will allow each park user to decide whether to have an off-leash experience or not, rather than having irresponsible dog owners impose off-leash experiences on them.

    • MistOfTheCity

      This is non-sequitor. Your issue, Brent Plater, consistently is about threats to wildlife which is what you personally initiated with the GGNRA to start this whole fiasco as you have with Sharp Park and all of SF Parks by making these challenges and aggressively reducing PUBLIC ACCESS everywhere.

      The Result: No public access for anyone, dogs or not.

    • SaveOffLeash.com

      Re demarcation: Sure, then follow King Solomon’s wisdom. One side divides the park and the other side gets to choose. Instead, one side is relegating a large percentage of park users to no or grossly inferior portions of these park resources for which we equally pay.

      • TrainedHistorian

        Those with dogs, especially those who leave behind feces de facto impose greater costs (mainly cleaning costs) on the rest of us.

  • Ramona

    Having just moved into the bay area, I am saddened by the lack of areas where I can bring my dog both on leash and off-leash. I bring extra bags on walks to pick up my dog’s waste and waste from other’s that are less responsible. Enforcement seems to be an issue and challenge that needs to be looked at as a viable way forward to help maintain responsible dog-owner rights and punish those that are violating rules and creating problems for both dog lovers and dog abstainers equally. Having just moved down from Oregon perhaps looking to other successful states and cities, like Portland, Oregon, can provide a model for a way forward.

  • disqus_HIQIc21hiB

    For the caller who mentioned dog owners leaving “poop bags” out on the trail, “as if the janitor is going to pick them up,” I am completely tickled. Dog walkers place the bags down on the side of a trail and pick them up on the way back from their hike, as there are generally trash receptacles at the trailheads. Any dog owner would see a trail-side bag and know full well it’s owner will be disposing of it later. If they didn’t intend to pick up after their dog, don’t you think they would just let them use the trail as a bathroom? Would they bring a bag? More hiking trails that permit dogs would likely bring dog-owners away from the city parks that are preferred by pedestrians.

    • joetriviani

      Are you implying it is ok to leave a bag of feces anywhere as long as you come back to pick it up later, say in 2 or 3 hours? It is the dog owner’s responsibility to PICKUP after their dog and leave the area clean. If you can’t handle carrying the doggy bag around you should not be taking your dog to pubic places. Dog poop is a repulsive sight and smell for hikers, bikers, joggers, weather it is in a bag or not.

      • SaveOffLeash.com

        Living in a society requires compromise. Going on a 3 hour hike and carrying a bag of poop so you don’t have to look at it for 5 seconds does not sound like an intent to compromise. There are fewer and fewer garbage cans. This is the result. Some bags may get forgotten, some perhaps could be left a bit more out of site, but the intent is good and most are picked up and thrown away.

        • TrainedHistorian

          Most? Not a scientific statement. Where is your rigorous measurement of what.proportion of dog walkers actually pick up after themselves?
          I walk on the beach and in my neighborhood in Pacifica, and in the GGNRA parts of Pacifica almost every day. Gobs of both bagged and unbagged feces are left around by dog owners for weeks, and weeks. This denial of the problem by you and other dog owners is why there is support for more restrictions on dog walking in the first place.

          • SaveOffLeash.com

            Dog owners would greatly welcome some scientific statements in any of the GGNRA claims being made. Listen to this radio show. Neal Desai states the GGNRA are above science, that they believe they are qualified to make decisions without scientific proof.

    • Mrs. Eccentric

      yeah right. that’s why i see the same bag fester on the trail i walk near my house for days on end, until the volunteer trail cleaners pick it up.

  • Guest

    Dog owners are starting to do whatever they feel like anyway. I see dogs in restaurants, grocery stores, farmer’s markets — any place where it violates health code, these dog owners are just feeling more and more entitled to break the law and endanger people with allergies or suppressed immune systems. Then they have the temerity to complain about children – at the very least, children ensure the survival of our species. What does your dog do for the human race?

    • MistOfTheCity

      Excuse me, have you ever asked one of these people if their dog is a service animal. Probably not. There are other service animals other than Guide Dogs for visually-impaired people. This is an ignorant rant.

      • Guest

        No I haven’t – and if I was an employee of any of those businesses, it would be illegal. That’s right – service dogs don’t have to be identified, and businesses are not allowed to ask thanks to discrimination laws. Many dog owners are finding this out, that’s how they are managing to bring dogs into “no dog” apartments as well.

        I don’t plan to harass anyone for any reason – but I can silently hate people who take advantage of these disability laws.

        • amyj1276

          That’s a common misconception and a big problem. It is NOT illegal to ask if the animal is trained as a service animal and what service the animal is trained to provide. Since people at grocery stores and other places aren’t trained properly on this, they assume they can’t ask at all, and then people continue to take advantage of this and bring their dogs everywhere. I don’t know if people like the commenter above are just closing their eyes to this problem, but I see an average of 1-2 dogs in grocery stores whenever I go shopping at Ocean Beach Safeway or Masonic Lucky. People are just entitled, self-indulgent, and self-absorbed. There’s really no excuse.

          • AmyLassiter

            I certainly do not close my eyes to dogs in a grocery store, as I would find it very weird. Comment to those stores, which I have not been to, but don’t try and insult all dog owners. Many parents are entitled, self-indulgent, and self-absorbed but that does not mean that we should not treat everyone with respect and acknowledge that people love their families, regardless of whether you do.

    • AmyLassiter

      I also live in the Bay Area and we can’t bring our dog to any of those places, so what are you talking about!? And there is no evidence that having a dog in an open air farmers’ market or outside at a restaurant in any way imposes a risk to buyers. I am an Infectious Disease doctor and know that children coughing without cough etiquette and touching food without washing their hands are far more of a risk, especially to those with impaired immune systems. Please look up how many outbreaks have been linked to dogs. Dogs are actually very good for the human race- there are so many sources on how good they are for cardiovascular and mental health now, and how important they have been as working dogs for humans in the past. This comment is so ignorant.

      • Guest

        There are signs posted at most farmer’s markets that ban dogs from being taken inside them. Take a look! Ferry plaza, Claremont DMV, Lakeshore, just to name 3.

        • AmyLassiter

          exactly. we can’t bring our dogs to the farmers’ market. you are proving my point. but again, there is no evidence of any risk to the public of having a well behaved dog in an open air setting. please do some research before posting again.

          • Guest

            Research? I am not an Infectious Disease doctor as you claim to be. But I am a person with an allergy to dogs, so the only research I need is someone bringing their dog somewhere they are not allowed or expected and dealing with the results. Maybe read my post again. Exactly what false claims am I making?

            1. Dogs aren’t allowed in specific places.
            2. Dog owners take them there anyway.
            3. People suffer because of it.

  • Mildred Anne

    The current rules are not clear and not inforced, for all users. So the answer is to take away enjoyment for one group AND start enforcing…. Why not try making the current rules clear, and work on enforcement?

    Are there real plans for funding clear distrabution, sinage etc. of the rules as well as the enforcement of?

    • Miguel

      Exactly. The GGNRA can’t even enforce existing rules and can’t even maintain existing areas (garbage, broken picnic tables, illegible signs, etc.)

  • gonewest818

    As a matter of perspective are these restrictions unusual compared to other cities?

    • MistOfTheCity

      Don’t think so but if GGNRA is the first it will be to quell one of the largest used national Recreation Areas first so that sweeping change like this can be made everywhere else. It appears that NPS wants to eradicate any and all public access to these designated Recreation Areas and make them like Wilderness Areas plus rename then as “National Park”.

      Please make your comment at the GGNRA website. Link is on the left column. http://bit.ly/hlqYHv

    • AmyLassiter

      Yes they are. I have lived in New York and London and they are much more for accessible for dogs. In any areas with sensitive wildlife or lots of people, dogs are allowed but always on a leash. For example, you can easily bring your dog on a train in the UK as long as it is well controlled, and they are starting to allow dogs on Amtrak. In New York, they enforce the leash rule, as well as poop pick-up quite aggressively with large fines, which is a great way to make sure everyone respects the law and generate revenue. I am unsure why the laws here are so draconian, and feel like various official groups give more weight to the one person who complains about lots of dogs at Fort Funston or in an open air market vs those are finding it hard to take their pet for a walk on the weekend. I agree with comments about opening hiking areas for dogs on leashes as it would make it much easier to find a place with less crowds on the weekend.

      • TrainedHistorian

        I’ve lived in London, and visit NYC a lot. I don’t think they’re comparable to SFBay Area because they developed in a more intense, dense way,There are very few large “wilderness” like areas that are very close or accessible to the urban interface. Thus they don’t have anything quite like the GGNRA. What is close to the urban interface are large, landscaped, non-wilderness type parks (Central, Prospect, Hyde, etc.) Thus they have a different set of issues.

  • Karl Young

    It seems that a very small percentage of dog owners are extremely vocal and uncompromising (and seemingly rabid !) about letting fido live free (and unleashed) or die, anywhere in SF. But in a big city like SF that’s still a significant number of people and they seem to have a disproportionate influence in any discussions. Why is it considered Soviet style management to have a few places in the city where we try (futile as it ultimately is) to protect native wildlife from an onslaught of off leash dogs ? And it’s kind of interesting that in a lot of cities that I’ve been in that are considered far more conservative than SF, people have no problem leashing their dogs in certain areas.

    • Miguel

      The arguments about protecting native wildlife are pure hokum. There is minimal to non-existent empirical evidence that dogs are harming wildlife. This is about two things: 1) protection from inconvenience and 2) federal bureaucrats exerting power.

    • SaveOffLeash.com

      Non-dog owners understandably have no sense of the existing limitations to dog owners. Most of the other parks (e.g., state parks) in the region greatly restrict or do not allow dogs at all. This is not a justification to do the same at GGNRA. It shows the reliance dog owners have on the GGNRA and how few spots there are to go.

  • arb

    I am a dog owner and a parent. My comment is regarding the East Beach proposed policy (i.e. no dogs on East Beach.) What about a weekday/weekend policy? I can understand limiting dogs there on weekends when the vast majority of children and tourists visit. But couldn’t dogs be allowed there during weekdays? If you go there on a Tuesday morning, for example, the beach is pretty much deserted!

    • SaveOffLeash.com

      Time-of-day (or day of week) usage seem like a useful measure. Howards response was that this would be too complicated. Howard’s response clearly betrays the NPS’s real motives.

      • Miguel

        Bingo!

  • troublebunny

    When I walked on Ocean Beach last week with visitors from the East Coast, I didn’t see a single dog chasing birds. I didn’t see a single pile of unscooped dog poop. What I saw was trash…piles and piles of (human generated) trash. By the time we’d walked from the N-Judah terminus to the Beach Chalet, we had filled three plastic grocery bags (which I had in my purse to clean up after my dog…oh the irony) to overflowing with cups, cans, bottles, chip bags, juice boxes, etc. My 14-year-old niece was astounded that people would do that to such a beautiful place. We took the thrash up to the seawall and put it in the bins, passing a ranger in a truck on the beach as we went.

  • alex

    Howard Levitt alluded that time restrictions cannot work or even be well understood.

    How come there are numerous parking, road turn signs with time restrictions, open hours postings on doors, etc?….And somehow we’re intelligent enough to cope with those posted times, but when it comes to sharing places with dogs, we would not know how to understand time?

    Sorry, but that is just typical bureaucratic BS talk (without one cannot qualify to be mis-“communication director”) to hide straight answer.

  • OldSemperFiGuy

    Like so many other things, it’s the few who wreck it for the many. The small group of irresponsible owners have all but made it impossible for responsible owners with their onerous conduct. Perhaps if the larger group of responsible owners were convey their displeasure with these oafs, their conduct would change. Use some of that organizational power to convince the smaller group that they need to change their behavior.

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