Committee holds hearing on off-leash dog restrictions

April 11, 2011 6:06:06 PM PDT
There were howls of protest from dogs and their owners at San Francisco City Hall Monday. They are upset about plans by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to severely restrict where dogs can run off-leash.

San Francisco is a city with more canines than kids. It has approximately 110,000 dogs. For decades they've run free on Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston, that's part of the 75,000 acres the GGNRA oversees. About 1 percent allows off-leash dogs. Now the GGNRA wants to reduce that space.

"These are prime recreation areas within the park and all users want to have access to it, so we're trying to create a balance there," said Howard Levitt with the GGNRA.

"If we had seen a lot of dog issues or people fighting or dogs fighting or things like that, I could understand, but that's not the case," said dog owner Val Ornoy, one of many who turned out to City Hall Monday. They say when the city turned the land over to the GGNRA in the 1970s, recreational use included dogs.

"They need to run and they need to socialize," said dog owner Alberta Romanini. "Otherwise they'll all end up at the pound again with behavior problems."

Supervisor Scott Wiener says the GGNRA should delay taking any action until a thorough study is conducted on the potential impacts on the city's parks.

"We have a lot of dogs in this city and if you dramatically reduce the amount of space where dogs can go, you are going to see crowding in our neighborhood parks," said Wiener.

Wiener held a hearing Monday on a resolution he is sponsoring which opposes the GGNRA's preferred dog management plan.

However, this Ft. Funston hang glider says something needs to be done.

"I have been bitten by a dog while launching my hang glider," said Eric Mies. "The dog was actually latched onto my leg."

The GGNRA is giving the public until the end of May to comment.

Load Comments