Leash the Anti-Leashers
I read today’s Chronicle article on the new emergency dog leash law that is seasonally effective in stretches of Crissy Field and Ocean Beach. This law was enacted by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) to protect the diminutive western snowy plover from the careless dogs (no blame there) and their careless dog owners (all the blame there) who put their canine run-and-be-free-and-shit-wherever-you-want concerns over that of the small local population remaining of the snowy plover–only about 100 birds. That’s right, 100 birds that need human oversight because the anti-leash humans can’t properly oversee their waggy wards.
Anti-leash activists (ah, California), such as the Ocean Beach Dog Owners fronted by attorney (dog-chaser?) Stephen Sayad, are rabidly frothing at their collective doggy-breath mouth about it. Up in arms, er, legs about it.
Understandably, many dogs off-leash are well-behaved and are trained to behave appropriately when off-leash. And their owners pick up their crap, too. I love the dogs that wait patiently at water’s edge for their surfer owner, or is it “guardian” now, to come back to land. Unfortunately, for all of the well-trained off-leash dogs, there are many dogs that when off-leash run haphazardly around the beach or the park, spooking other animals in THIER natural habitat, attacking other dogs, scaring kids who are also off-leash, and worrying wary parents.
Well, here’s the age-old “unfair” predicament for dog owners: the inability of more than a few dogs and their owners to behave appropriately leads to a leash law needing to be enacted that affects all, ruining the enjoyment of those off leash who do behave responsibly.
The anti-leash growlers spin leash laws as a ban on dogs. Perhaps the perpetual fog at the beach has obscured a clear perspective in their minds. This is not a ban on dogs at the beach or at Crissy Field–dogs are allowed on ALL of the beach if leashed, and on portions of the beach off-leash.
The anti-leash contingent needs to step back, stop baring their teeth and self-centeredness, and try to objectively UNDERSTAND the needs of the greater community, human and non-human alike, including the snowy plovers. (Also, stop stealing and vandalizing the leash warning signs posted–now you’re wasting more of our tax dollars, too.) There are still long stretches of Ocean Beach (Lincoln to Kelly’s Cove, where there’s plenty of free parking, or south of Sloat) and Crissy Field to allow your dogs to run unfettered. Isn’t that a fair compromise? There is a dog run in Golden Gate Park, and other city parks, such as Duboce Park, allow an overrun of off-leash dogs. These parks need some leash rules, as well, in my opinion: perhaps sets of hours during a day when off leash is allowed and other hours when it is not allowed so that other citizens can enjoy their public park without being hassled by off-leash dogs.
While you’re at it, pick up after your dogs! That’s right, don’t act like you didn’t see your dog take a crap–pick its (your) shit up!