Off-leash News and Views, May 2007


East Bay

The ongoing harassment and ticketing of professional dog walkers in Oakland is apparently due to a couple of bad apples. Whether “bad” applies to the dogs or the complainants is for you to decide.According to one of my dog-walking sources, some dog-fearing “tourists” on the trails have reported being assaulted by dogs when the canines merely approached them for a friendly sniff. I saw this happen recently with a Golden Retriever who was a little overzealous in the happy-to-see-you department, and he and his human got reported. 

When the East Bay Parks Department sheriffs come looking for the “vicious” dog, they harass others in the process.

Come out and make your voice heard on this issue! The City of Oakland Department of Parks and Recreation is having a series of community focus groups for park users. Each meeting is at a different park and the dates range from now through September 22. These meetings allow for public comment, so check out and make it a point to attend. 


San Francisco

According the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) website, the “emergency” off-leash dog ban of Ocean Beach and Crissy Field will be lifted for May and June, so take your dogs out and run their little tails off whilst you can. 

It now appears that final decisions about what will happen in regard to SF parks where dogs love to roam rest with Superintendent Brian O’Neil at the GGNRA. This should be interesting, given his involvement in a recent environmental incident (see

Meanwhile, GGNRA’s negotiated rule-making committee continues its proceedings. The committee is made up of representatives from such groups as The Sierra Club and The Audubon Society, as well as Fort Funston Dog Walkers, The SF/SPCA, and SF Dog Owners Group. The committee serves in a strictly advisory capacity and is expected to begin making recommendations in mid-summer. 

The National Environmental Protection Agency will provide an environmental impact report to the U.S. Park Service, which will weigh heavily in deciding whether to open up areas to off-leash dog walking or, as skeptics fear, to close more areas. There is a concern that the dubious “scientific data” provided in the past, which led to illegal park closures by the GGNRA, will influence the current effort, as well. 

Sadly, our dogs may have the cards stacked against them. To learn more about this process and find out about future meetings, stay tuned to the GGNRA website:

In other news, the SF Parks and Recreation Department (PRD) has dissolved the Dog Advisory Committee, which had been working on implementing “timed use” for dogs at City parks. There is a survey in circulation that PRD says it will use to determine future needs, access, etc., although there is little funding for new projects.  Issues related to dogs will now be handled by an internal committee within PRD.


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