Debate Over Off-Leash Rules In Parks Renewed

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Dog owners all over the Bay Area are taking action to make a stand about the National Park Service restricting of where they can take their dogs off leash.

At the end of 2016, the National Park Service announced a new set of dog restrictions for popular spots like Crissy Field, Baker Beach and Ocean Beach, laying out new rules that made many dog owners and professional dog walkers furious.

“It’s very much ongoing,” said Samir Gosh with the group Save Our Recreation. “People just don’t know about it.”

The great K-9 debate has had dog owners in limbo for six months now.

“Basically yeah, we’re just waiting at this point,” said dog walker Tara Johnson. “Not dog friendly. It goes against many natural dog behaviors.”

But then things got complicated.

So-called “Woofieleaks” revealed private park service email exchanges that leash-law critics argue point to a biased process.

“Sounds kind of familiar, using a private email,” said Gosh.

“The last I heard, they were doing an internal investigation to see what went wrong with the original planning,” said Johnson.

On Monday, Park Service officials told KPIX 5 that review is “almost complete.” When finished it will guide the next steps of this process.

“And if they decide to absolve themselves, the plan could just go right through,” said Gosh.

So off-leash advocates are furiously campaigning again, piling up tens of thousands of online signatures begging the interior department to reverse course on the restrictions.

“We want the Secretary of the Interior to know what’s happening,” said Gosh.

The battle is the latest chapter in a saga that started back around the turn of the millennium.

“If you’re a Bay Area dog, this debate is now approaching year 17.  That’s 119 in dog years.

As for what comes next, that is anybody’s guess.

“You know, I want to be optimistic,” said Gosh. “But by no means are people who are passionate about this going to give up.”

Park Service can’t say exactly when the review will be completed, but officials insist it will be made public.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Rene Ilf says:

    pro off leash are like pro bikes on busy city streets. its not fair to others. its not sustainable.

  2. Bikes are not sustainable? This comment makes no sense. With regard to off-leash dogs – the Environmental Impact Statement did not indicate any significant impacts to resources from dogs, and the open space is needed. If people don’t like dogs, that’s not a reason to ban them. Enforce waste pickup laws and most of the problem is solved.

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