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Coming to Your Town Soon—The Rising Animosity To Dogs (and Their People)

Being an unequivocal dog person, it’s sometimes difficult to understand the opposing sentiment—that not everybody loves dogs. But this point of view was made abundantly clear this past week as I caught up to the growing opposition to dogs in the San Francisco Bay Area, fueled by rants produced in local media. These claims suggest that the societal scales have tipped too far in favor of dogs and their human companions, and that dogs are pampered and over-indulged. Last week, the very popular call-in public radio show KQED’s “Forum” asked the question “Is the Bay Area Too Dog Friendly?”—the program description didn’t mince words: The Bay Area is known for being a dog-loving region, but has our canine adoration reached an unhealthy level? Dogs now accompany us into grocery stores, cafes, and even offices, but some argue that we’re excessively spoiling our dogs at the expense of others. We discuss whether our region really has a dog-coddling problem. The hour-long program can be heard online.

The show featured a local dog rights and off-leash activist; a representative from the SF Department of Health; and a tech writer from Slate.com whose recent article “No, I Do Not Want to Pet Your Dog” (with the tagline “It’s time to take America back”) inspired the program and blasts the untenable overindulgence of San Francisco dogs and their owners. Many examples of irresponsibility and misbehaving committed by dogs and people were cited—dogs damaging city parks, knocking over joggers while their owners remained unaware and unresponsive; attacking horses on trails, thoughtless, selfish dog owners who mislabel their pets as service dogs to gain unfettered access everywhere, aggressive dogs, untrained dogs, and unwanted invitations “to pet my dog.” The activist on the panel, and many of the dog-loving callers, also tried to add a more reasoned and balanced voice and pointed out all the enormous benefits that dogs bring to the community and individuals but recognized that a “few” bad apples do tend to spoil it for the many. The tech author of the Slate article, Farhad Manjoo, a father of a two-year-old boy and an avowed nondog person—argued that parents like himself “rein in” their children far more often than do dog owners. He fueled the heated discussion that veered to the “dogs are worse than children” comparison, and a debate on which Bay Area parent (canine or human) was more irresponsible. He goes on to lament:

But dog owners? They seem to suffer few qualms about their animals’ behavior. That’s why there are so many dogs running around at the park, jumping up on the bench beside you while you’re trying to read a book, the owner never asking if it’s OK with you. That’s why, when you’re at a café, the dog at the neighboring table feels free to curl up under your seat. That’s why there’s a dog at your office right at this moment and you’re having to pretend that he’s just the cutest.

Read the full article here.

It would be easy to dismiss these claims as the grumbling of a small but vocal anti-dog contingent, but to do so would be ignoring the fact that there do exist some serious issues with dogs in our community, such as uncontrollable dogs and their clueless guardians at parks, and dog walkers with far too many dogs, for examples. These public debates tend to exaggerate but who of us have not seen or been the victim of some incorrigible dog guardian’s behavior. Or witnessed the unsupervised “play” at parks that can cause harm to both dogs and people? As a community that has fought and lobbied to expand our rights and those of our dogs to have access to public and private space—it falls upon dog people to listen to these grievances, reach across the divide and understand the real problems that exist, and do our best to tone down the rancor and to find solutions. Wouldn’t it be a shame to backslide into the “old days” when dogs where an uncommon and unwelcome sight?

The Bay Area has always prided itself on being at the forefront of the “dog-friendly” trend, and, so, perhaps it is among the first communities to suffer the backlash of being “overly-permissive” to dogs. Reading the comments on Forum and Slate, it’s clear that dogs are not every person’s best friend. In fact, popular sentiment that dogs are out of control was running 3 to 1—not an encouraging sign. Is this a concern that is creeping into your community? Do you sense that dogs have worn out their welcome? What can dog people do to stem this outcry?

Cameron Woo is The Bark's co-founder and publisher. thebark.com
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Submitted by Jodi | July 16 2013 |

I think it is a shame that that Manjoo has to use such inflamatory language, and takes such an aggressive stance, against something that is overwhelming positive (a dog-friendly community). Even though there are some bad apples out there that give all dog people a bad name, people like Majnjoo, who are so hateful in their approach, actually ruin their own credibility. If he asked the dog-loving community to address the things that concerned him and other non-dog-people, then people like me would be much more likely to take him and his views seriously. As it is, I write him off as a hater and a wacko and feel irked by his ugly attitude. This whole thing is actually very sad, because I can only see the dog-freindly movement as a good thing, even if it isn't perfect.

Submitted by Kara | July 18 2013 |

Sometimes it takes the inflammatory language to get the conversation started. Based on the number and tone of the comments here, the conversation is ramping up.

Submitted by Carolyn | July 17 2013 |

Yes, I think there is an inevitable backlash against dogs. Too many irresponsible and less-than-courteous dog owners have spoiled it for the rest of us. What can be done? I'd say "education," but surely people understand that leaving poop for the others to step in, and over-friendly, even aggressive dogs, cannot be welcome anywhere. I hate to suggest "restrictions" and "guidelines" but what is the alternative?

Submitted by Margaret | July 17 2013 |

I agree with Carolyn and Jodi. Our local, well-loved dog-friendly park has come under fire and I think the answer lies in focussing on the humans instead of the dogs. As a park user I consider it my responsibility to keep my dog under control and, especially, to make sure everyone can enjoy the park including people who consider my dog unwelcome. That is their right. Sadly, it has become hostile here too.

Submitted by Suzanne Morrone | July 17 2013 |

I don't know why you'd "hate to suggest restrictions or guidelines" (not that anyone would follow them). But there is a time and place for putting our foot down and using the word "RESPONSIBLE Dog Ownership". Dogs should be trained. Even well trained dogs (mine) can misbehave (again, mine) and it's up to me to see that they do not infringe on others. I love my dogs, they go everywhere with me that I'm allowed to take them, including on all my trips and vacations. I want to be welcomed back, so make sure I pick up after them, keep them quiet and well exercised and don't go where we aren't welcome. My life has been made miserable at times by off leash dogs, aggressive dogs, and basically irresponsible owners who are oblivious to anyone or anything but themselves (they don't even watch their dogs!)

Submitted by Gloria | July 19 2013 |

Right on, Suzanne. Obviously, if owners don't watch their dogs, they don't see where or if the dog had defecated and therefore he/she need not pick it up.

Submitted by Carolyn | July 26 2013 |

What I meant (by hating to suggest restrictions or guidelines) is that it seems to me people are already fed up with laws and restrictions. Look at all of those that already ignore waste pick-up signs, ignore dogs-on-leash signs, or dogs permitted "here" but "not here" (I'm thinking specifically of beach access in a national lakeshore I know well) to name but a few. Unless there is enforcement, then it seems to me that restrictions and guidelines are largely ineffective with a portion of the population. Realistically, I don't see how such restrictions and guidelines are enforceable. Perhaps if it comes from within the dog community? But unless responsible owners can bring pressure to bear on those that are irresponsible in a concerted manner, then I think all dog owners are doomed to losing privileges. Laws, restrictions and guidelines are only effective if people choose to follow them or if there is a mechanism to enforce them.

Submitted by Susan | July 17 2013 |

At the bookstore where I work some of the clerks object to dogs, most of us love them more than the customers. Well-behaved is the key, whether a dog, adult or child. The noisy, free-roaming, mischief minded of any species need to be socialized.

We have regulars who choose not to control noise and aggressiveness, We workers end up policing the behavior. I have yelled at, grabbed leashes, and taken dogs outside. The worst is when you get a parent and a dog owner who abrogate their role as guardian, endangering both child and dog.

Submitted by Gregg Boersma | July 17 2013 |

Our town, Annapolis, MD, is becoming more-and-more dog-friendly and, I believe, the local shopkeepers are realizing this is good for their business. IMO, it has also helped promote good canine citizenship as there appears to be a sort of unspoken competition among dog owners to have their dog behave better than the others.

Submitted by Kim | July 17 2013 |

I under stand both sides of the issue and as dog lovers we must police ourselves when we see inappropriate behavior by dog parents. I wish I lived in such a dog friendly community. I love to bring my two little ones with me whenever I can. They love getting out in their buggy and seeing the sites. And yes, they are adorable and no, please don't pet them or stick your face into the net where I have them secured because if you invade their space they will try and eat your face. Wherein lies my ongoing problem, I continually tell folks they are not friendly but they don't believe me. I get responses ranging from ,"All dogs love me" to "How could setting so tiny and cute be mean?" We'll there are several reasons why including being chained and starved until I found one of them and the other kicked across the room when she got into someone's way until she was removed by the Humane Society. But since then they are doing really well other than their total mistrust of strangers. So my question to the world of dog lovers and those not infatuated with a cold nose is, what are the magic words to convince folks to not bother my dogs when we are out? They sit quietly and enjoy themselves immensely until someone sticks their mug in their business. I am appreciative of the sweet comments and people only do it because like myself we have so much puppy love to give it has to go somewhere. But please, oh please I can't afford to be sued because a 4 pound mutant chihuahua nipped your nose through a mesh screen of a pink baby buggy. Give me a break for God's sake.

Submitted by Pamela | July 17 2013 |

I very much feel your predicament. I used to have a dog (who passed away from cancer) who was dog "aggressive"—but only if the dog approached him. He could walk peaceably and never bother another dog, but so many thoughtless owners would let their friendly dogs charge right up to us. Then it became OUR problem. Your situation is different in that your dogs don't trust people who are strangers to them. I recommend that you "red flag" your stroller. You can get leash flags at http://www.dog-flags.com/products.html. This or a variation would serve as an early warning to anyone who might think to approach. I am gaga for dogs and approach almost anyone freely, but if I see a red flag, I will not approach a dog and his/her handler. Good luck.

Submitted by kim | July 17 2013 |

Kim, Have you heard of yellowdog? It is a campaign started in I think Sweden that is trying to become nation wide. Please go to yellowdog.se. What it is is tying a yellow bandanna on leashes, buggies, etc. The yellow bandanna means "please give us space" I would love it if people recognized nation or world wide. It would help people and dogs like yours (and one of mine who is dog aggressive) I know people are just trying to be friendly, but certain dogs don't want to "say hi" Lets try to spread the word.

Submitted by Laura | July 17 2013 |

I don't see much of it here, but a little AND we weren't that "dog friendly" to begin with.

I'm seeing a huge increase in owners who assume everyone WANTS to be approached by your dog or puppy. Guess what...they don't. People and dogs BOTH need to remember not everyone loves everyone. That doesn't mean we can't peacefully co-exist. However, that co-existence is harder when one group infringes on the rights of others to be left alone (and free of muddy paw prints, dog hair, slobber, etc).

I have three dogs of my own. I teach dog training as well. I LOVE dogs. However, that doesn't mean I want to interact with every dog I see everywhere I go.

"Dog-friendly" needs to be tied to "Dog-responsible". Pick up/clean up. Leash (or absolutely have control IF that is an acceptable alternative where you are...know local laws, many don't accept "verbal control"). Minimize barking. If in a dog friendly business abide by policies!

Submitted by SuzieVet | July 18 2013 |

I agree with you - but I also expect the same from owners of human children!

Submitted by Carole | October 10 2013 |


Submitted by CR | July 23 2013 |

I LOVE dogs too but I really don't think they belong in Home Depot or other retail establishments. I think it's okay that restaurants allow dogs on outside patios. Then it's my choice if that's where I want to be, but retail stores? Seriously? I live in Austin, TX, a very dog friendly city. Recently, there was an incident where one dog attacked another in a pet store. Can you imagine this incident happening in a different kind of retail store? At least at the pet store, people expect to encounter dogs and maybe are more cautious or aware.

Submitted by alex | July 17 2013 |

Holland, Belgium, France, Germany....etc., are all "dog-friendly" but they are dogs that are well exercised, socialized and trained...I have six, luv them all, but recognize that even with training, we have "moments." Pls people, respect leash laws and people's personal space. It would be a shame to lose this pro-pet momentum.

Submitted by Michelle Lopez | July 17 2013 |

As a dog mom of 7 dogs, my initial reaction to this anti-dog comes from a place of anger. However, when my calmer side prevails, I realize that I too have some of the same concerns and that the common theme is irresponsible dog owners. I don't expect everyone to like dogs but I do expect others to respect my choices the same way I respect people who choose to have multiple children. Banning dogs from places is not the solution, there are simply too many dog parents and that number will only continue to grow. Why can't we look to European countries for guidance? Dogs in Europe are welcomed almost everywhere and somehow this has worked for decades. Hate filled language will do nothing to address a situation that is not going away.

Submitted by Aire | July 17 2013 |

I don't understand, i specifically go to dog friendly places, because they are dog friendly, if you don't want to be around dogs don't go to dog friendly restaurants/hotels/stores etc.

Submitted by J. May | July 17 2013 |

First off I love and have dogs, I really enjoy seeing dogs in public places and outdoor cafe 's. the biggest problem I see is that allot of dog guardians do not care about other people's rights or feelings, just as there are parents who do not respect other people's right to have a quite,not to be starred at by there child in the booth next to yours, screaming children, and their parents ignoring it. The problem is not the dogs or children its the guardians and parents that allow this behavior. You can't expect your dog or child to stay in one place for a long time and not get bored. But back to the dogs,like I said I love having dogs around, but I am very respectful of the people around, I ask the people who already sitting down if their ok that I have my dogs and most have absolutely no problem with it and some do and I make sure that I sit some where else and I make sure my dogs are comfortable and tired and completely out of the way of others. We are all out trying to enjoy are day and meal, or the park etc. so everyone should respect everyone's peace of mind. Be good guardians and treat your animal great, but spoiling them rotten ruins them they need leadership, just like a spoiled child that parents have no,control over. Be respectful to others and don't ruin it for the responsible guardians. Peace to all

Submitted by Jeff | July 17 2013 |

Going dog unfriendly becomes a slippery slope and self fulfilling. I Live in a dog unfriendly area where they are essentially not welcome in any building (except pet stores) and must always be leashed outside and there are even many parks where dogs are outright prohibited. These bans ensure dogs rarely get experiences in these environments and therefore are now unable to behave when they do encounter strangers.

Submitted by Mary | July 17 2013 |

I wonder how many times Mr. Mahjoo's two year old has climbed up on a paark bench where someone has had to pretend he is just the cuteset thing? Also I am sure when at a cafe the child is a model of good behavior, never whinging or running about making people wish he would curl up under their chair and pipe down.

Responsibility is the key, both with dogs and children. Our city has leash laws, but I constantly see dogs off leash all over the city and this should not happen. But in the few designated off leash play areas people bring their children with bikes, scooters and skates and complain about the dogs getting in the way. If a dog in a handbag he is still a dog and employees of restaraunts and grocery stores need to ask to see a dogs service tags, all legitament service dogs have them.

My two dogs are the light of my life and when I retire one of my "musts" is the place I serttle be dog friently. I have never approached anyone asking if they want to pet my dogs. If I ever do and the answer is no I will respect that. Unfortunately Mr. Marjoo seems to think only his wishes are worthy of respect.

Submitted by Jude | July 17 2013 |

Hello, I'd like to clear up a common misconception—service dogs do not require ID or documentation. If you check the ADA website, all that's allowed of a business owner, bus driver, whatever, is to ask 1) if the dog is a service animal and 2) what kind of service (details or demonstration of the service is NOT required.

Submitted by al | July 17 2013 |

Yes, everywhere is less dog friendly. Most of Florida does not allow dogs on the beach anymore. They say its because dog lovers are all lazy and never pick up their poop. We always bring extra waste bags with us, to hand to anyone we see with a dog, especially when they let their dog leave a pile and walk away. Then we ask, Do You Need A Bag? then explain that this one of the last beaches that still allows dogs will be closed if every dog lover, every single time, must pick up their dog poop at not only the beach, but along the sidewalks, parks and your yard. As even neighbors hate dirty neighbors who are too lazy to pick up their dog poop every single day. And it is very easy to teach even 6 year old children how to pick up poop, as part of their responsibility and love for their dog.

We were at a Dog Rescue Event and a man brought his child to adopt a dog, he said his 10 year old child was not old enough to learn to pick up poop, and he did not want the dog to pee or poo in his own yard. Said he planned on taking the dog out by the sidewalk down the street away from his own house to pee and leave the poop in the public area in front on the neighbors houses, not his. He said poop was too disgusting to pick up and he was above picking up poop.
We explained that is part of the responsibility of having a dog, and many dogs may have to poop even 2-3 times a day. We showed him and his son how to use a bag to pick up poop, its not rocket science, even if he does have a dumb kid, but I think the problem was a dumb parent, the kid seemed fine with being told by us to pick up poop. He just wanted to adopt a big loveable Golden Retriever, but the father didn't want any pee on his grass, Don't know what the big deal was, pee is actually a natural fertilizer for grass, as where the dog pees, the grass grows greener. If pee is overly concentrated and can burn the grass, but you can hose the area to dilute it, if that is a problem, but even if the grass gets burned, it grows back greener than ever, from all that natural fertilizer. I don't think he adopted any of the Goldens, he said his yard was much more important than letting his son, who desperately wanted to adopt a Golden, from having a dog.

A problem Florida has, is that so many come from concrete cities so most people from the north hate nature, hate dogs, hate everything. I don't know why they come to Florida. They say the sand fleas come from dogs. No, sand fleas, are gnats, or no see ums, etc, and they were there long before any dog showed up on any beach. The northerners say dogs get hair in the ocean, I have never seen hair in the ocean. I tell the northerners to be careful, because the fish poop and pee in the ocean, and the birds poop and pee on the beach, so they might be safer going back to the paved dirty smelly city called New York and stay there. I went to Manhattan, New York New York with my Golden Retriever, for a family doctor visit, the place was so dirty, stinky and so noisy. It was like hell on earth is the only definition for it. I kept asking where is the nice part of NY. They said your in it. All I saw was filth, stench, and I had to take my contact lenses out, as my eyes were dripping, my nose was dripping, I was coughing and sneezing. We had on clean coats, that were dirty in 24 hours after walking around in the filthy air, and our Golden was all washed with conditioner, etc, for this trip, and our poor dog was all dirty after walking around the city all day, in just one day. It was a 24 hour trip, to fly up on the first flight in the morning, then we took the last flight out that night.

As soon as we flew back into northern Florida, and got out of the airport, outside, we rolled the windows down and drove home in the middle of the night. My eyes cleared up, my nose cleared up, and that terrible stench of NY was gone.

New Yorkers do not like dogs in NY either. We had to get creative as our big dog did and was going with us everywhere despite New Yorkers loud complaints.

Of course in NY finding some ground where your dog can pee and poo, of course we had waste bags, is a challenge, when your dog is use to grass. And what dirt we found, was so dirty as so many many dogs had been using the same tiny bit of ground too, the whole place is paved. NY dogs just pee and poop in the middle of the sidewalk, and I noticed, a lot of New Yorkers do not pick up poop, they leave it there for everyone to walk thru it, till it is scattered everywhere and everyone is tracking dog poop on their shoes.

Dogs in NY city need to be taken every week to a real park with real grass and trees and away from the chemical stench, and constant horrible noise of the city. We saw lots of dogs with terrible cancers, no wonder. Parts of the dog face or body was cut out. Dog owners said it was cancer cut out of the dog. It was so sad and so hard to look at. I felt really bad for the dogs with such terrible cancers, most likely caused by living in the chemical industry in the city.

The state parks in Florida use to not allow dogs, but tax payers have dogs too, so in the last 5 years, with major pressure from dog lovers, FL state parks have quietly allowed dogs as long as leashed and poop picked up, and dogs are not allowed to bother others. This pressure of dog lovers, tax payers need to get together to open beaches to responsible dog lovers. Have $200 fines for any dog lover that does not pick up poop. With all the cameras, its very easy to catch who does not pick up and fine them.

On days when I go to the gym, most everyone does not talk to anyone, but on the days a Service Dog comes with their owner to work out, and is waiting for their owner, everyone becomes happy and friendly and talking to each other. It is amazing the change in the mood when a dog is around.

Dogs just make people happy and dogs make the environment happy.

Dog lovers need to be responsible, and get together as tax payers, and make sure dogs are allowed everywhere.

Submitted by Chris | July 17 2013 |

I resent your reference to "northerners"! Only a very small percentage of "northerners" are from cities, and where I live, NH, is mostly rural! We love the country, we love our dogs! And even your reference to NY is biased. You may have had some bad experiences there, but you didn't to everywhere in NY. You're as bad as the people who want to ban all dogs because of the behavior of a few!

Submitted by Alexa Morales | July 17 2013 |

Good grief, was this a comment about dogs or a new york-bashing rant??

Submitted by Anonymous | July 17 2013 |

i find it ironic that a city known for its VERY high concentration of aggressive homeless people thinks it has a problem with dogs. I have never had a dog scream at me to give him a dollar....

Submitted by jes | July 17 2013 |

This animosity to dogs in public space is not new, as Woo acknowledges the "old days" where dogs were unwelcom - I'm sure this animosity goes back to the very first human-dog bond :) Within the last 20+ years, this animosity was responsible for a rising ban on dogs in parks (on leash or off) and creating the dog park movement - animal apartheid in parks. It is responsible for creating the growing field of animal law.

Just as offleash dogs were ineluctably linked by opponents with dog poop, having dog friendly public and commercial space is linked by opponents with "spoiled," "indulged," and "coddled." Dog parks succeeded where they were able to shift the focus off the smelly red herring and clearly communicate the benefits not only to dogs and dog owners/guardians, but to the larger community.

I currently live in a community that is about 20 years behind, having just opened its first dog park. There's a strange mix of the pre-modern (dogs have not yet been banned from the agricultural community), "modern" (no dogs allowed), and the post-modern pet friendly (e.g. the first PetsMart, the first dog park). But for the mot part, "no dogs allowed" dominates the built / public / commercial space, as well as rental housing.

In consequence, we still have several cases every year of dogs dying in hot cars (because people can't take them inside), or freezing outside in the winter. Of people shooting their animals to dispose of them (the local shelter charges more than $100 to "surrender" an animal to a high-kill shelter), or abandoning them to the wilds, because they cannot find pet-friendly housing. Homeless and victim shelters that do not accommodate pets. Of course it's a lot easier to blame the "irresponsible dog owner" than to address these modifiable barriers, to address one of the few remaining socially acceptable prejudices.

San Francisco is a beacon of hope, of the activism and change that is possible, and I dearly hope it remains that way. Being on the cutting edge makes it experimental, however, and there are lessons to be learned. Rather than indulging the "spoiled" or "coddled" discourse, I'd like to ask the dog community to consider how much of this actually benefits the dogs, owners, and community - and what lessons can we learn about creating more dog-friendly communities?

Submitted by Gabrielle | July 17 2013 |

I train my dogs to be polite. They are Canine Good Citizens (they passed the test--have your toddlers qualified?). They are leashed and under my control my control when moving about the city. However, when I am at the park training them in advanced competition for obedience or agility we are often interrupted by clueless or negligent adults and their children who wander through or deliberately interfere in our training area. Would they wander onto a soccer field or baseball diamond while a game was in play? I doubt it, but if they did they would be booed off the field. Why do they think interfering with my training is inconsequential? If you want well behaved dogs you have to train them IN PUBLIC so that they can learn what is acceptable behavior. There are bad human parents as well as bad dog owners. Should we judge everyone by their conduct? Or, can we learn to admire good teaching and it's result?

Submitted by Marcella Congdon | July 17 2013 |

I'm inclined to think this is a west coast problem, which is troubling because so many (good?) things start there. Here in the east, where I frequently travel with my Norwich, there are increasing numbers of dog parks, and more and more B&B's and hotels welcome my well-behaved terriers. Generally no welcoming restaurants or grocery stores. Perhaps west has gone too far ahead of good manners?

Submitted by Stef | July 17 2013 |

I live in Buffalo, NY and have yet to experience this anti-dog stance. I think that dog owners need to police themselves better. I've always been in control of my dogs and made sure that they bothered no one. And they were better behaved than a lot of kids I've seen in stores.

But I do agree that some things cross the line, like owners bringing their non-service dogs everywhere. Here in NYS non-service animals are only allowed in petstores, but I've seen numerous people bringing their dogs into all other types of stores. What makes it even more annoying is the discrimination against big dogs. I worked at T.J. Maxx and this lady would always bring her barking maltipoo into the store in a stroller. Of course everyone would coo over how cute the dog was despite the racket it made. But when a lady brought her lab mix into the store in a shopping cart people complained like crazy despite the dog sleeping in the cart, not making a sound the entire time.

I still believe it was uncool of the lady to do that, not to mention against the law. But she did ask permission of our manager at the front desk. It's still angering that so many people complained about her silent dog.

Overall I hope things don't go backwards and turn anti-dog. We must all be responsible dog owners and educate others about being that way as well.

Submitted by Anonymous | July 17 2013 |

It is a myth that San Francisco and the surrounding area is dog friendly. I've never lived in a more dog un-friendly place than the Bay Area - dogs aren't allowed in outdoor seating area of many restaurants and on many hiking trails and beaches. Other places I've lived, including New York City and Montana (yes, the whole state) are much more welcoming of well-behaved dogs.

Submitted by Chris | July 17 2013 |

I'm a dog owner, lover and even own and operate a dog services business. My dog(s)go everywhere with me. They're well trained, come when called and greet politely (for the most part, they sometimes need my help with that!). My current dog isn't good with other dogs (she was attacked at a young age), so I always leash her when other dogs are around. Unfortunately, there are TONS of dog owners out there who aren't responsible and are spoiling it for those of us who are. I see people all the time neglecting to clean up after their dog who has just pooped in a public place (how can you let your dog poop on a sidewalk and just walk away?!). A favorite hotel in Portland Maine that was always pet friendly stopped allowing dogs after dealing with damage done by guest dogs and disruption when they were left alone in a strange new place and barked until the owners returned, disturbing other guests. While I do feel that the hotel could have taken a different stance (pet damage deposits, for example) rather than banning dogs, it is the irresponsible dog owners who cause the problem, not the dogs themselves! If you want to take your dog places with you, and if you want to have your dog off leash in public places, etc, you need to train your dog and you need to pay attention to their behavior and be aware of others around you. I've had to fend off many dogs who would try to get in my own dogs face (who was leashed) and the owners either ignore me telling them my dog doesn't like other dogs in her face or just aren't around or watching their own dog. Yet, if my dog were to bite their dog, she's the one that would be blamed! Come on dog people! Don't ruin it for all of us!

Submitted by Casey R. Doodle | July 17 2013 |

Here in Seattle, it's just the opposite...more and more dog-friendly workplaces, businesses, and housing. Proud signs going up everywhere declaring "Dogs Welcome Here!" Most dogs (including me!) here in the city are well trained...we have to be, as many of us are apartment raised (no barking or destructive behavior!), pass through crowded streets and sidewalks daily, and want to be welcomed wherever we go.

Submitted by Bethany | July 18 2013 |

I disagree, Casey. What I see in the media daily in Seattle is exactly what this article is documenting in San Francisco's media. People are fed up with off-leash dogs attacking them while jogging or trampling their family picnic. I saw a shocking 3 off-leash dogs at the Ballard Seafood Fest this weekend! 3 illegally unleashed dogs at an extremely crowded street fair!!! (And I was only there for about a hour.) One dog didn't dross the street when it's oblivious owner did and was almost hit by a car, another was licking the middle of the street as it's dumb owner plodded on and one wandering dog caused several children to scream and dash into their parents arms. I expect the festival to have "No Dogs Allowed" signs next year. I expect "No Dogs Allowed" signs at city parks soon as well- each time an off-leash dog attacks someone or a city worker has to clean up another pile of dog feces, we come closer. And, sadly, even as a city dog mom of 3, I agree. Solving anti-dog sentiment is as simple as obeying leash and clean-up laws but if there are so many idiots out there refusing to follow them, putting their dogs and the public at risk, then stricter laws and rules have to be made.

Submitted by Paula | July 17 2013 |

There are too many people who really don’t watch their dogs properly when they are in public. I’ve stopped taking my dog to dog parks because of the people who don’t have any control of their dog once they take the leash off. I take my dog everywhere I can. I’m constantly looking out for the child that will run right up to my dog with a whirling pinwheel in her hand. Dog owners that don’t make the effort to keep their dog safe from other dogs and people; allow their dog to sniff, jump or encroach on other people and dogs or generally don’t respect that the dog is a guest not a customer, make it impossible for businesses to continue to be “dog friendly”.

Submitted by Mary | July 17 2013 |

Well, irresponsible and uneducated runners and bikers are another side of this problem. I always honor the leash rules as I walk my three dogs, regardless of thosewho do not. I am royally sick of oblivious and imperious folks who run or bike right into a pack of leashed dogs with their human, me. This is so discourteous and dangerous. And I am sick of dopey parents who do not keep their kids at a distance from dogs they do not know. We have probably two generations of people on the loose who have grown up hearing nothing at all about how to comport themselves around dogs. I think what may be at work is the child-centered, I-am-special background that so many grew up with.

Submitted by Evangelia Phili... | July 17 2013 |

As a DOG LOVER and concerned citizen I would like to say that dog owners must deal with the non-dog loving public with the same courtesy we would with kids. Not everyone likes kids so just as we would not force our children on strangers we should not force our dogs on them either. WE should be conscientious and keep our furry friends in control otherwise overzealous idiots like those in SF would go overboard and take away all of dog's hard earned rights and take us back to the dark ages.

Submitted by jim f | August 28 2013 |

I can not believe any one is considering dogs are entitled to human rights. As a human being I think I should have the right not to sleep with someone's dog or cat when I go to a hotel. I and my wife both have allergies to animals and usually only find out someone has had their dogs in the hotel room after my eyes are itching and my nose is stopping up. When are people going to give me the same courtesy as most dog owners demand that their hotel room be a non-smoking room? I am currently staying in a high-dollar Four Seasons hotel room that animals have been in. I always look for the phrase pet-friendly when booking a hotel room. Four Seasons neglects to post this "warning" on their information page. I suggest if you do not like to sleep with someone's slobbering, pissing, and pooping dog in a room where you expect the freedom from sleeping with animals to be respected, you better make it known to the hotel ownership. As far as restaurant animal freedoms, how many of you have watched a person raise their dog up and let him eat off the table or put their plate on the floor to let the dog finish up the dinner. I have and I am sickened by these acts.
I guess I can see where the phrase comes from now, "The country is going to the dogs"

Submitted by Dmoya | July 17 2013 |

Funny, that's how I feel about about other people's kids!

Submitted by Alexa Morales | July 17 2013 |

I am a North easterner living in the deep south and I have never encountered a culture that is more un-dog friendly. The sheer number of strays walking around, dead on highways and roads and the bursting shelter with high-kill rates are depressing and could change if more resources were available for educating ignorant, careless, and uninformed people. Here, dogs are often seen as property or as "cheap" security systems. I guess what I'm saying is that, 1)educating dog owners is KEY and, 2) It COULD BE MUCH WORSE!

Submitted by DOGS RULE!!!!!!... | July 17 2013 |

WHO CARES if a few people don't like dogs, I love them and its your problem if you don't like them. DOGS RULE!

Submitted by teri | July 17 2013 |

Not everybody likes kids or dogs. I have had more times out ruined by children than by dogs. So, make your kids behave and dog lovers will be happy, and make your dogs behave and kid lovers will be happy.

Submitted by Peggy | July 17 2013 |

A dog is a dog and should be loved as a dog, not as a child. I have 2 Golden Retrievers and absolutely love them, however there are places where dogs do not belong: in a stroller, at an art show, or at a farmer's market just to name a few. They do belong in a lake, in the house, at the park and walking on a leash. Pet owners need to keep their pets under control and clean up after them, otherwise they ruin it for the rest of us.

Submitted by ron | July 17 2013 |

The problem is obviously not "dogs" but irresponsible, boorish dog owners. I am an avowed dog owner and lover but when I take my dog to the beach I always have an eye out for owners who are not paying attention to properly managing their dog. Problems can occur and they can be serious. But the issue is training/ reforming humans and that is no small task. Having said that Fanjoo sounds to me he has a bit of an axe to grind and has chosen dogs as his soapbox/scapegoat. We live in an imperfect world guy and humans are responsible. Get a life......

Submitted by Rene Shelly | July 17 2013 |

I don't feel that people who have poorly trained dogs are actually "dog people." My family has had dogs since I can remember. We have always been knowledgeable about dogs, dog behavior, the breed of dog we owned and the local laws. I have Dobermans now, rescued, but still well behaved. When my daughter got an American Bulldog/Pitbull mix, we learned everything there was to know about the breed, took her to puppy and obedience classes and she has always been the perfect dog. However, when I lived in Athens, OH, some of my neighbors ignored the leash law and allowed their 3 labs to roam the neighborhood. They teased my Dobe until she learned to escape her electronic fence to which she had been perfectly trained from a puppy -- she then had to be tied the rest of the time we lived there. Those people just "have dogs," they are not dog lovers.

Submitted by Cynthia Rosiek | July 17 2013 |

I live in the bay area and have two sixty pound dogs. I see no extra indulgences for large dogs but see growing favors for small dogs. When is the last time you've seen a chihuahua on a leash? Actually, have you EVER seen a chihuahua on a leash? What about the small dog owner actually picking up the droppings? I went into Walgreen's the other day and saw someone with their small (under 25 pounds) dog. I asked if I could bring my dog in. When they saw the size, they'd not allow the dog. Isn't a dog .... A dog? I'd love my well behaved dog to get the indulgences these accessory dogs get.

Submitted by Kerry | July 17 2013 |

The truth is it takes a lot of work to be a responsible dog owner. I have 3 dogs and live in an apartment with a yard. I also train and rehabilitate rescue/fosters on occassion. Time: morning walk (with poop pick up) 20-30 minutes (old dog= slow), out to bathroom in alley (pick up pood) 2-3x a day = 30 minutes. Walk in the evening = 30 minutes. Last walk of the evening to make sure everyone is EMPTY= 20 min. That's almost 2 hours plus add meal prep, training, play, hike on weekend, etc. Plus the expense. A few bucks a day to feed 3 dogs = $1000/yr. Vet bills, food, toys, old dog expenses (I don't dump them at the shelter when they get old).

My point? Having a dog is a BIG commitment. EVERY day. Training is repetitive, redundant, boring and tedious. Suck it up. Rewards? Uncountable. All animals, like children, require a commitment to their care and well being. Think about that before you bring a soul into your home. If you can't make the commitment, get one of those Japanese robot pets.

Submitted by Ernest Bortfeld | July 17 2013 |

As always, the true source of the problem is inconsiderate humans who live with dogs that they have not taught basic manners. And, on the other side, these days everybody wants everything their way PERIOD. It is all about ME

Submitted by Stephanie | July 17 2013 |

I am extremely pro dog, but on the other hand, I can see anti-dog people's point. I loathe off leash parks and people who don't believe in leashes, because your dog is not safe off leash and my leashed dogs certainly aren't safe from dogs who are running around off leash unsupervised by their owners (sometimes with the leash on the dog, but dragging behind it!). You may think your dog is friendly, but mine get freaked out by strange dogs and may snap and I'm not going to have some dog attacking mine when I have mine on leash and under control! Some people should not own dogs, period. But then these are generally the same people who should also not procreate and then have at least three children running around screaming and acting less well-behaved than zoo monkeys. BTW, your children are less cute than dogs and no, I do not find them adorable! Particularly when these idiots are setting their dog and kids up for failure when they allow their horrible beastly children to torment and scare their dog and others and then become outraged when their little darling child gets bit. The problem in nearly every situation is the human, not the dog. And my main problem with any laws is that they inevitably target the dog and NOT the idiot owners. We need to develop laws that hold irresponsible people accountable. If you can be held accountable for the actions of your under 18 children, then you should certainly be held accountable for the actions of your pet. Stop blaming and punishing the dogs and create good laws!


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