A controversial battle for off-leash recreation has been raging in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area for decades. The National Park Service threatens to severely restrict access to dogs. New evidence shows that the struggle was fraught with bias, flawed studies, and collusion.
San Francisco has a reputation for being dog friendly. There are more dogs than children living within the city limits, and many companies, especially tech startups, are encouraging employees to bring their dogs to work.
But San Francisco, surrounded on three sides by water, is also the second densest city in the country. As a result, open space for recreational activities is of paramount importance and this has led to controversy in San Francisco’s urban parks, especially where dogs can and cannot run.
Dog advocates have struggled for years to maintain access to the recreational area that was achieved in the 1970s and 1980s. We always felt like the deck was stacked against us, but recent revelations have shown us that the situation was even worse than we thought. These revelations also forced a federal agency to delay implementation of the stringent dog walking restrictions it was trying to impose.