New GGNRA Dog Management Plan Status Report
The initial public comment period for the negotiated rule-making process that will result in a new “dog management” policy in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) ended on May 30. The GGNRA has 5,000 comments to evaluate, but local activists are concerned that those assigned to do so will be the same staff that came up with studies “proving” that dogs are harmful to plants and birds within GGNRA boundaries. Many of the findings of these reports have been challenged by environmental and wildlife experts.
The Crissy Field Dog Group (CFDG), San Francisco Dog Owners Group (SFDOG), and others have submitted substantive comments for consideration, including specific suggestions for changes and amendments to the proposed plan.
Concerned off-leash enthusiasts are encouraged to contact their Congressional representatives, as well as Dept. of the Interior officials like Secretary Salazar, to ask for an independent review of public comments, without which the outcome of the process is very likely to be serious restriction if not outright banning of dogs from popular areas within GGNRA, such as Crissy Field and Fort Funston.
The new dog management plan is expected to go into effect in fall 2012, after more rounds of review and public comment.
See www.nps.gov/goga/parkmgmt/pets.htm for current rules regarding off-leash recreation for canines in the GGNRA. For background and to connect with local dog folks active on this issue, see sfdog.org and crissyfielddog.org.
Can Dogs Help Kids with ADHD?
A study underway at UC Irvine aims to determine whether or not working with therapy dogs can help children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) overcome their challenges and behave appropriately in the classroom and other social situations. Kids with ADHD are generally quite intelligent but easily bored and distracted; their behavior issues generally include non-stop talking, over-the-top running around, and other high-intensity activity.
Over four years, 108 children will take place in the study, which will use specially trained therapy dogs to improve their motivation and direct their energy in positive ways. The children are allowed to play with the dogs outside as the session begins, then playing with the dogs is used as a reward for controlling impulsive behavior. The children also read aloud to the dogs as part of the study.
Protection Pooches Fetch a Pretty Penny
According to a recent article in the New York Times, there are lots of rich people in the world who like the status and security of owning highly trained “protection dogs.” In fact, they routinely pay in the area of $50 grand to own one, more if the dog has won Schutzhund (protection dog) competitions. One international champion recently fetched $230,000 and now lives a luxury lifestyle, commuting between mansions and accompanying her owner, a debt collection executive, on business trips.
Trainers work hard with these dogs, many of them German Shepherds, to cultivate a “controlled ferocity” distinct from the angry aggression untrained dogs might display. Protection dogs also must display loyalty and gentleness with family members in order to fetch a high price.
Apparently, some celebrities have turned to protection dogs instead of bodyguards for their security needs because they are cheaper and can’t be bribed.