Noe Valley Voice July-August 2008

Letters to the Editor

Noe Valley Voice July/August 2008

Dogs Have a Shaggy History at Noe Courts


My short answer to Michael Fasman's complaint in a letter in the June issue about the Park Department's enforcement of the dogs-on-leash regulation at Noe Courts is that it's about time the law was enforced. Furthermore, those "pet guardians" who refuse to leash their dogs when asked to do so are being obnoxious and self-righteous.

One time in the park several years ago, I actually complained to a dog owner because his dog was off leash. He informed me that he was a Vietnam veteran and that he should be allowed to run his dog in the park. I called the SFPD. They told me to call the Animal Care and Control people. This was on a Saturday night. I called the Animal Control number and got a recording that said "Leave a message" and that they would call me back on Monday. After that discouraging experience, I never bothered to try again.

The long answer is more complicated.

My wife and I have lived on Elizabeth Street across from the park and uphill for 34 years. For the first 15 years or so, there was a sign posted saying no dogs allowed. For the most part, people complied with it. Somehow, in the 1990s, the regulation was changed. Why I am not sure. At one point the Park Department staff recommended that the prohibition on dogs be reinstated, but by that time the "dog community" had organized itself into an interest group, and the new status quo prevailed.

For the past few years, the "Dogs must be on leash" and "Owners should pick up after their pets" signs have been posted at the park. The former regulation has been ignored. I think the other requirement has been observed.

Over the years, I have heard a few complaints from my neighbors: One said that she could not use the park for sunbathing, even though she lives across from it, because it smells too bad. A couple of other neighbors have complained that the dogs make it unsafe for their children to use the park, or that they have had disagreements with dog owners when they brought their kids to the park.

Some of my neighbors have moved in more recently--some with small children, some with no children--and have acquired dogs since they moved into the neighborhood. They probably have assumed all along that bringing their dogs and letting them run off leash in the park (often with their children) was acceptable. I sympathize with them, and I'm glad they are using the neighborhood playground.

On the other hand, I resent people who drive to the neighborhood just to let their dog off leash in the park when it is posted that dogs are supposed to be leashed. There are several designated off-leash areas in nearby playgrounds--Eureka Valley, Douglass Park, and (soon) Upper Noe Recreation Center.

And I really resent the I Have a Dog and I Vote bumper stickers! We don't have a dog now and we vote. We used to have a dog many years ago and we voted then. SO WHAT?

Michael Cronbach

Elizabeth Street


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