article image

Nose for News, April 2016

GGNRA Update

Golden Gate National Recreation and National Park Service clarified dog management policies within GGNRA lands, dramatically limiting where off-leash dog walking will be allowed and angering residents and dog walkers who have long used the location for off-leash romps.
The GGRNA restricted off-leash dog walking to Fort Funson, Crissy Field, Ocean Beach, For Mason and Rodeo Beach. Furthermore, off-leash access within those areas was reduced, and off-leash dog walking will not be allowed at GGRNA sites in San Mateo County and at few areas in Marin County.
The GGRNA considers the restrictions a compromise since some park users want to ban dogs from the recreation areas.

Opposition Mounts

Three San Francisco Supervisors—Katy Tang, Scott Wiener, and Norman Yee—have introduced a resolution opposing the GGNRA dog rules, buoying Save Our Recreation, SFDOG, and other groups that vehemently disagree with the new dog management rule from the National Park Service.

“We appreciate the efforts of our local elected officials to help us stop what would be the largest loss of recreational access since the inception of the GGNRA. These were locally owned lands given to the federal government to be safeguarded for recreational use. Arbitrarily banning recreation violates that trust,” said Andrea Buffa of Save Our Recreation in a press release. “The National Park Service was organized to bring people and nature together, and now they have redefined their mission to keep people out of nature. This is one of the densest urban areas in the nation, and we can’t allow a handful of unelected staff to take away broad areas now used for recreation.”

The boards of supervisors of the three counties with GGNRA land have previously gone on record as opposing the plans.

“The National Park Service dog management rule is not just about dog people or cat people or goldfish people—this is about people. The NPS is on a trajectory to keep people out of this recreation area and are just starting with people who recreate with their dogs,” said Sally Stephens of SFDOG, a Save Our Recreation coalition member. “Currently, dogs are allowed in just 1 percent of the GGNRA; this management rule would diminish that to just one tenth of a percent. This is not a compromise; this is a strategy to effectively keep people out of this recreation area in an effort to turn this recreation area into a wilderness area.”

More Sniffers Considered

Atlanta airport officials are considering adding more dog security screeners to speed up passage through passenger check points.

The airport currently uses a five-member canine team to sniff for explosives and ingredients that may go into bombs that boarding passengers’ may be toting in their carry-on luggage. With dogs on the bomb-sniffing job, passengers going through security might not have to remove jackets or shoes or take out laptops, expediting the screening process.

The working dogs at the Atlanta airport include Miley, Dougie, Balou, and Betty, all Labs, and Jo, a German shorthaired pointer, and they work half-hour to hour-long shifts.

Dogs to the Rescue

Anatolian shepherds and Kangals are being used as guardians to protect livestock against cheetahs in Namibia. Farmers traditionally have turned to guns to kill the predators, depleting the cheetah population from about 100,000 animals in 1900 to about 10,000 now.

The Cheetah Conservation Fund has been working with local ranchers and farmers in Namibia to convince them to use dog guardians to ward off the big cats. With the guard dogs, livestock losses of cattle and sheep have been reduced from 80 to 100 percent, the CCF reported. Anatolians and Kangals can be as big as 150 pounds. These working dogs are being to trained from birth to stand sentry over their flocks and herds, barking loudly to establish their dominance. About 400 dogs have been placed at central Namibian ranches.

Ball Dog in the Open

Former stray dogs—Frida, Mel, Isabelle, and Costela—were trained and used as “ball dogs” at the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo recently in the Roberto Carbelles Baena and Gastao Elias match-up.

The dogs, wearing bandanas and improvised wrist sweatbands, were expert at retrieving the ball, according to CNN, but not adept at giving up the balls to the players or trainers. The stunt was an effort to raise awareness about shelter dogs.