Judgmental Pets
Influence Positively Interview - Aimee Gilbreath

How do you save off-leash dog walking areas?

Peaceful protesting and a colorful, happy dog poop bag lady. Those certainly must be keys to saving off-leash dog walking areas in San Francisco!

This is what I love about the Bay Area. Even in the middle of a protest, people are awfully polite and considerate of the environment. No mêlée. No anarchy. Only once did I see a brief tiny scuffle, between tiny dogs.

May 21st was the Mighty Mutt March from Ocean Beach to Stern Grove and with the big turn out of people and dogs, it was great to see everything was thought of, including poop bags.

Sweet Dog Poop Bag Lady in Red

Besides this nice woman prepared to help out with an unexpected poop break along the route, we had a friendly police escort.

San Francisco Police

Dog walkers from all over were in full force. The many dog owners came prepared, some with bicycles occupied with small dogs and one with a pair of Huskies harnessed to a buggy. Everyone whether they had a big dog, little dog, senior or puppy, was there to show that they believed that dogs should continue to enjoy this off-leash area within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 

The blue skies and warm weather made for great TV and our local CBS station surely got some good footage. For the many dogs that were there, it was impressive how well-behaved they were! Maybe they took advantage of the location and got some exercise in at the beach below? What was clear, the event had responsible dog owners in attendance.

Well-behaved Dogs
Surely saving 1% of the entire GGNRA for off-leash dogs is a worthy cause for all of the visitors and citizens of the Bay Area. San Francisco is a destination city and we want to remain pet-friendly, don't we? Isn't that good for local hotels and businesses?

This 1% we already use means everything to dogs, especially those in the city who will be overwhelmed if they have to jam themselves into a small dog park to get some exercise. I know our large dog Cleo does not like the dog parks that allow dogs to gang up on her because of the small space. She doesn't have the room to keep her distance from groups of dogs. Though we take her for walks around the neighborhood, being able to run free twice a week is important exercise for such a big dog. Many folks don't have backyards at all or if they do, they are quite small and often inhospitable to animals, except for squirrels or raccoons. The off-leash area of the GGNRA allows responsible dog owners to have space for their dog to run.

Stop the Madness
The Mighty Mutt Strut was endorsed by: SFDOGOcean Beach DOG, Crissy Field Dog, DogPAC of SF, Fort Funston Dog Walkers, SF ProDog, Save Off Leash Dog Walking in the SF Bay Area and Keep Muir Beach Dog Friendly. Petco, Citi Pets and Pet Food Express supplied water and treats to the dogs. Thank you!

If you live in the area, just love the Bay Area and dogs, or visit the area with your dogs please consider showing some support. Remarks and comments on the proposal close on May 30.

You don't have to be a resident to leave a comment on the National Park Service proposal!

Below are links to more information on the GGNRA proposal, recent article, and Facebook page dedicated to stopping this. Make your voice heard!

Post a supportive comment: http://www.facebook.com/saveoffleash

Public Comments can be submitted: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectId=11759

Recent article: http://oceanbeachbulletin.com/2011/05/20/dog-walkers-to-march-from-ocean-beach-to-stern-grove/

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