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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dog Owners Say Proposed Leash Laws Are Unenforceable

Posted By on Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Let Me Roam Freely
  • Let Me Roam Freely

In a city where there are more pooches than there are kids, you don't really want to be on the wrong side of dog owners.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a federal organization that owns popular dog-roaming spaces, wants owners to put leashes on their dogs.

The agency drafted a thick report with a slew of alternatives that will ultimately restrict dogs from roaming freely in open spaces, including Crissy Field and Fort Funston, two popular play areas for canines.

Even before dog lovers have read through the proposal, they've already concluded that leash laws like this are unenforceable.  

Sally Stephens, chair of SF Dog, an organization with 800 members, pointed out that this is the latest battle in a 15-year war between dog owners and the feds, which has already banned off-leash dogs in certain areas across the Bay Area.

In 2001, the GGNRA prohibited off-leash dogs around San Francisco, but nobody really followed the law, she said.

So unless the federal government can come up with a scientifically sound reason why dogs should be on leashes at all times, then dog owners won't keep their pets on a leash, she said.

"People will just look out for a ranger, smile and put their dog on the leash when they see one, and take the leash off when they are gone," Stephens said. "When people view rules as being unjust, they are more likely to not pay attention to it."

Stephens says the whole dog community is united on this one. They will look through the proposal, which will be made public Thursday, and come up with their own analysis and possibly their own, dog-friendlier proposal.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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