Save Off-Leash Dog Walking In The GGNRA!

I was sent this note by two of our neighbors. Though I don’t personally have a dog, I believe that dogs and their walkers make areas safer for *everyone* to use.

Joel Engardio, Candidate for Supervisor in San Francisco's District 7, takes a stand on dogs

Why? It’s because dog-walkers are around. In all weathers, every day of the year, dogs need their walks. Who else uses the parks? Joggers do, but they usually go by running, often with their music on. So do hikers and trekkers and parents with their kids – but they usually select nice weather and convenient times. Dog walkers are the eyes and ears of our parks.

Paws in our parks means eyes in our parks.

So I’m pleased that our neighborhood is dog-friendly, and I’m happy to post this – for the dog-walkers, and for people like me who benefit from their presence. I’ve made some minor edits and corrected the deadline date.

SAVE OFF-LEASH DOG WALKING IN THE GGNRA!

What’s the Deal?

This past September, the GGNRA released a revised version of its Dog Management Plan in the form of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or SEIS. This document proposes eliminating 90% of off-leash dog access, and severely restricting all dog walking in 21 existing GGNRA sites in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo counties, as well as in all future sites managed by the GGNRA.

Why Should I care?

If the GGNRA implements their preferred alternatives, Marin will lose off-leash access to the Oakwood Valley Trail, Muir Beach and almost all other GGNRA trails. The only off-leash opportunity in Marin would be Rodeo Beach, the one beach that is only reachable by car by any and all users. And most trails within the GGNRA in Marin would no longer allow any use by people with their dogs, leashed or unleashed. People and their dogs would go from having access to an already tiny 1 % of the GGNRA down to a mere .1 %, effectively removing an entire user group from the GGNRA.

Several years ago, when the plan was first unveiled, public comment ran 3-1 against the GGNRA’s preferred alternatives. But the GGNRA apparently isn’t listening. They’ve re-heated the same plan, with even more restrictions in many locations. And they are requiring new comments for the “new” plan. Even if you commented a couple of years ago, you need to do it again.

What can I do about it?

Comments close on 18 Feb 2014 at 11 p.m. [Webmaster; It’s been extended from January 11th, 2014]. You must submit substantive comments that directly address aspects of the SEIS. No form letters or petitions will be accepted or counted. The GGNRA is making it difficult for a reason. Comments mailed in the old fashioned way always carry more weight. We’ve tried to make it easy for you: key points/phrases to include in your comments are listed below. You may also comment on the NPS website, by clicking on the “Comment on Document” button. Here’s the link: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=303&projectID=11759&documentID=55416

HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT POINTS TO MAKE IN YOUR COMMENTS

  • Mention where you walk, how long you ‘ve walked there, and what impact this will have on you as a dog guardian and as a citizen.
  • The SEIS lacks scientific data. Instead, it makes assumptions and assertions with absolutely no peer reviewed site-specific studies as required by law. Without these studies and corresponding data, there is no legitimate or legal foundation for these policy changes.
  • The plan doesn’t differentiate between impacts caused by humans or other animals. It just assumes all the negative impacts are caused by dogs.
  •  If the GGNRA further limits dog walking as recreation, what few surrounding parks and trails that do allow off-leash will become overcrowded and overburdened. We need more access, not less.
  • A well-exercised dog is a well-behaved dog. The SFSPCA and Marin Humane Society, as well countless other dog behaviorists are opposed to GGNRA’s preferred alternatives.
  • There is no federally designated critical habitat in the GGNRA. Yet they cite possible impacts on critical habitat as a reason to ban dogs or restrict access to dog owners.
  •  The GGNRA is an urban park, not a wilderness area. It’s critical recreational open space for a densely populated urban area. By severely reducing off leash dog walking, the GGNRA is in violation of its enabling legislation that allows different user groups -it specifically mentions off-leash dog walkers -to recreate.
  •  Oppose the GGNRA’s preferred alternative and tell them you support the NO ACTION alternative.
  • Tell the GGNRA to enforce the existing (and adequate) rules to manage dogs.

For more info, visit saveoffleash.com

Send comments to: Frank Dean, General Superintendent Golden Gate National Recreation Area Fort Mason Building 201 San Francisco, CA 94123-002

 SPREAD THE WORD! TOGETHER WE CAN KEEP THE GGNRA DOG FRIENDLY!

offleash dogs

Public Alert/ Poisoned Meatballs Left for Dogs

The San Francisco Park Station Police have put out an alert. There’s a poisoner loose who’s apparently trying to kill dogs. One dog is still seriously ill, and some wildlife has died. This message has been going out on the Yahoo Group, NextDoor and Facebook, but here is the official alert.

Any questions please contact the Park Station Investigations Team at 415-242-3000.

(A larger PDF version of this is available here: poisoned meatball alert-1 )

poisoned meatballs

Dog People: Here’s the Million Dog March!

kid walking dogSomeone sent this to me, and I thought that dog-friendly Forest Knolls would be interested!

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MILLION DOG MARCH

Sunday, June 2, 2013

McLaren Park, San Francisco

We can’t break the world record without you and your dog!

San Francisco Bay Area dog lovers have worked hard to make the Bay Area the most dog friendly place on earth. Yet there are threats to many of the gains we’ve made—from Muir Beach to Montara, Oakland to San Francisco. That’s why dog people are planning to gather one June 2nd at McLaren Park in San Francisco to stand up and be counted, once again, for our dogs and our community—and to have a whole lot of fun at the same time as we try to break the Guinness World Record for largest dog walk.

We hope you’ll join us for the first-ever Million Dog March, a fabulously large dog walk and festival of fun and games, and help us:

  • Break the world record for largest dog walk
  • Show the size and passion of the Bay Area dog community
  • Stand up for our right to walk with our dogs in city parks, federal recreation areas and other public spaces
  • Raise money for Friends of SF Animal Care and Control
  • Enjoy a great time in one of San Francisco’s most beautiful yet underutilized parks

The Million Dog March will be a beautiful three-mile walk in McLaren Park, through grassy fields, around scenic lakes, under redwoods, over charming wooden bridges, and along trails with some spectacular views of San Francisco. After the walk, there will be a festival with music, vendors, information tables and games and activities for you and your dog. Have a photo taken of you and your dog. Let your dog try her paw at some agility equipment, go bobbing for tennis balls to win a prize, or see his furry face as a caricature.

The cost of the event is $25 in advance/$30 on the day of the event, which includes registration for one dog and its human family members as well as one t-shirt for you and a bandana for your doggie. Any proceeds from the event will be donated to Friends of SF Animal Care and Control, to benefit city shelter animals. Because of the number of participants, we ask that you keep your dog on leash during the walk.

REGISTER EARLY!



To register and find out more: http://www.milliondogmarchsf.org

Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/milliondogmarchsf

Event sponsors: Zynga, Pet Camp, K9 Scrub Club, Pet Food Express, Yelp, San Francisco SPCA, the Park Cafes, Citipets. Media sponsors: The Bark, 7 x 7, Bay Woof, San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Hosted by SFDOG. Endorsed by Crissy Field Dog Group, DogPAC of San Francisco, Ft. Funston Dog Walkers, Grateful Dogs Rescue, ODOG-Oakland Dog Owners Group, Ocean Beach DOG, Marin Unleashed, McLaren DOG, Montara Dog Group, Muttville, Point Isabel DOG, the Professional Dog Walkers Association, Save Off Leash Dog Walking, Wonder Dog Rescue.

Coyotes Among Us

Two neighbors have reported coyotes nearby in the last few days – one on Warren Drive, and one on Clarendon x Panorama.

“A very large coyote was seen at 11:30 a.m. today across from 101 Warren,” wrote Beverly.

“On 12/22/2012, approaching Clarendon from Panorama, waiting at the traffic signal, a rather frisky coyote crossed my path, going from south to north and into the undeveloped area bordering Clarendon on its East,” wrote John V.

Someone else saw one a few days ago on Mountain Spring Drive, which is just across Clarendon Avenue from us. In the last year, I’ve seen them myself on Twin Peaks, Glen Canyon, Diamond Heights, and in the grounds of Laguna Honda Hospital. They’ve also been sighted near West Portal, the Presidio, and elsewhere in the city. I’ve posted about coyotes here before, but I thought I’d do so again.

coyote looking at dog, San Francisco

From what I’ve been told, there are only about 10-12 12-18 coyotes in San Francisco. They are territorial, so it’s unlikely the number will increase very much. We know the Golden Gate pair had pups last year. (Click HERE for a cute picture of the pups at play; it’s from the RichmondSF blog.) The one (or ones) we’ve seen may be a Golden Gate pup grown up and seeking new spaces. (Coyotes look bigger in winter, when they grow their winter coats.) Or they could be any of the resident coyotes from the territories around us.

Coyotes cover great distances in their explorations, so it’s possible to see them almost anywhere in the city. The west side is particularly good for them; they mostly take gophers and rats and mice, available in the grasslands, and they need cover to hide from dogs and people. The west side of the city has both.

Generally, coyotes aren’t much bothered by people (and are shy of them). They are bothered by dogs, who they see as competitors and a potential threat. I’m told they remember dogs who chase them. Like dogs, they probably also can recognize individual people.

Though coyotes mainly prey on rodents (and are a much better solution than poisons like the ones that killed the Glen Canyon owl), they have been known to takes cats and even small dogs. They may fight even with big dogs who chase them, which is not good for either dog or coyote. So it makes sense to be careful – keep your cats indoors especially at night, and leash your dog if a coyote is around. Generally, don’t run from a coyote; it may trigger a chase instinct. Instead, walk away calmly. I’ve found yelling loudly at a coyote usually makes them run off in a hurry. (I’ve only done this once, when I was walking in Diamond Heights at night.) If  you’re concerned about coyotes, carry a “shake can” – a loud rattle made of some pennies sealed into a small aluminum can.

Please NEVER feed coyotes. A FED COYOTE IS A DEAD COYOTE.

[Edited to add: TV station CBS did a short video clip on Forest Knolls coyote sightings: Click HERE to see it.]

Janet Kessler, the Jane Goodall of San Francisco’s coyotes, spends a lot of time observing these animals and documenting her observations on www.coyoteyipps.com and she’s also written an article on peaceful coexistence for the Marina Times. You can see that HERE.

The precautions below are taken from her website.

coyote poster11

coyote poster21

Welcome, Phoebe! (New dog in Forest Knolls)

We have new neighbors on Christopher Drive Crestmont, (Welcome to Forest Knolls!) and they sent this picture of Phoebe, a springer spaniel/ poodle mix.  Of course it’s going on the Pets page, but I couldn’t resist putting it out here first. She’s looking so thoughtful.

Pedigree Dog Food Recall

Nola posted this alert on the neighborhood Yahoo Group, and I’m giving it a signal-boost because it could be important:
On Saturday, June 30, Mars Petcare announced the voluntary recall of some of its Pedigree canned dog food products due to a potential choking risk. Affected products may contain small pieces of blue plastic.
 
To learn which products are included, please visit the following link:

Pedigree Dog Food Recall

Please be sure to share the news of this alert with other pet owners.
Following the link, I found that it’s three “Weight Management” varieties of dog food.  They’re the following varieties and lot codes:
  • 2310034974  PEDIGREE +® Healthy Weight Premium Ground Entree in Meaty Juices
  • 2310001913  PEDIGREE® Weight Management Meaty Ground Dinner Beef & Liver Dinner in Meaty Juices
  • 2310023045  PEDIGREE®  Weight Management Meaty Ground Dinner Chicken & Rice Dinner in Meaty Juices

If  you’re giving your dog this product, you might want to follow the links for the details. It links to the website dogfoodadvisor.com has an alert system to warn dog-owners who sign up with them about recalled dog foods.

Thanks, Nola!

Coyotes on Twin Peaks

Some of you already know there are coyotes living in the area: one, maybe two families are somewhere around in the Twin Peaks/Glen Canyon/Golden Gate Park habitats. We’d posted about it on the Sutro Forest website, here.

Today, someone on our neighborhood group described an encounter with a coyote on Twin Peaks while out running with their dogs, early in the morning… in which the coyote chased them off the hill:

I spotted a coyote running up the street…  I would stop and yell at him and tell him to go away (as if), and he would briefly stop but continued coming…..we finally got away…must be protecting his cubs.

It ended with a warning to people going up there with small unleashed dogs. (The coyote picture here isn’t of that coyote; it’s a public domain photograph.)

[ETA 25 May 2011: I personally saw a coyote a couple of days or rather, nights, later. It was around midnight, on the other side of Twin Peaks, near Panorama. Possibly the same animal.]

I’d like to refer everyone to the brilliant Coyote Yipps blog. It’s kept by Janet Kessler, the “Jane Goodall of San Francisco’s coyotes.” It minutely observes and documents the behaviour of a family of coyotes she watches (and also another family of coyotes in Los Angeles, observed by Charles Wood).

However: It also posts a warning.

More importantly, if you go with dogs into coyote areas (most open parkland in San Francisco or its surroundings):  What concerns coyotes is dogs. Here are the special guidelines for dog-walkers. (Note that the person who originated this warning did the right thing by yelling at the coyote.)

[ETA: However, Janet Kessler added in a private communication: “…it is best never to run away from a coyote, but rather to walk away slowly. Running away sparks an instinct to chase.”]

Here’s a link to a Coyote Yipps post with more detailed pointers for dog-walkers. I’d recommend them to everyone. Janet Kessler’s been watching coyotes and their interactions with people and dogs for some years now. She’s deeply knowledgeable.