Friday, April 8, 2011

Another Posting About San Francisco

Sound familiar? GGNRA is the Golden Gate National Recreation Area:
I do thank you, Scott, for responding. But I disagree that excluding dogs from the GGNRA will bring more of them into SF parks. They've already appropriated and saturated SF parks, and most of the ones in the GGNRA are the same dogs, anyway. I completely agree with you that regulating dogwalkers and making them pay for the free ride they get in the parks and streets is fair. But as for sharing the space with dogs, I tried it and it didn't work. I had frisbees thrown in my face by people tossing frisbees into my picnic area for their dogs to catch -- the off leashers don't see anyone when their dogs are concerned; they're incapable of sharing the space because to them, everyone and everything that's not their dog, or of interest to their dog, is literally invisible. I've been chased by pitbulls when the owner was across the baseball field (where it was illegal for the dogs to be in the first place), with his back turned and unaware of what his dog was doing as I managed to get out. He was talking to several other people toileting their dogs (illegally) on the playing field that day (as they do several times a day), while at least ten overexcited and uncontrolled dogs raced around the grounds, urinating, defecating, digging up the landscaping, barking, and chasing people and not a single owner was even aware of where their dog was at any given moment. Sharing the space with these people means, at the very safest, walking or picnicking on top of various nasty things that have come out of the back part of a dog, things that belong in the owner's home, not shared public spaces. At the worst, it means physical attacks on people, often vulnerable ones like kids (I've seen that, too) or seniors. It means having vile personal insults hurled at you for politely requesting that their dog leave you alone.

SF has given the dog owners more off leash areas than any other major city in the US and what did they do? They took over the rest of the parks and streets. We gave them and inch and they took the rest. They're the ones whom you should be talking to about sharing the space. Giving them as much as we did was a bad idea. To me, saying they have a right to recreate with such destructive, dirty, and often dangerous animals in public spaces is like saying graffiti is recreational to some people, so we should give them more buildings to tag. And at least graffiti doesn't attack people, or breed germs and filth.

It's not some dog owners that are irresponsible. It's at least 50 percent of them. Any time you see a dog off leash in any space that's not a designated off leash area, that's irresponsible. If you see dogs off leash in playing fields, that's irresponsible. That's illegal. And you see it all the time, everywhere. I'd put it like this: there are some responsible dog owners in SF. They're the ones who walk their dogs on leashes, don't take them into places where food is served, and abide by the laws. The ones who don't shouldn't be coddled; they should be prosecuted, like anyone else who disobeys laws. When someone runs a Stop sign, you don't say, "Let's take down the Stop signs." You give them a ticket. That's the appropriate attitude to off leash dog owners, both in SF parks and the GGNRA.

Keeping the dogs out of the SF parks is already a lost cause. Has been for years; everyone knows it. Every park in SF is a dog park, every space a dog wants is the dog's space, even if you happen to be sitting there on your blanket. They've already befouled our parks. Let's not give them the GGNRA, too.

Prospect and Central Parks, among other public spaces here, are headed in the same direction, if they're not there already.

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