This CITYDOGS letter to the editor was published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, 25 November 2001:
"S.F. DOGS HAVE LITTLE PARK SPACE"
Editor -- The "gigantic giveaway" to dog owners described by Andrea O'Leary (Letters, Nov. 17) is really a small concession. The Recreation and Park Department's revised citywide dog policy still limits off-leash recreation for San Francisco's 120,000 dogs and their owners to less than one percent of city parklands in fewer than one in 10 of our parks.
Rec and Park's proposed "dog play areas" are [at minimum] each about the size of a basketball court and rated to accommodate 25 dogs and their owners.
Meanwhile, the city provides 1,500 acres of "natural areas" (the equivalent of 6,500 dog play areas), 555 acres of golf courses, 157 tennis courts, 95 basketball courts, 82 baseball fields, 30 soccer fields, 100 acres of archery ranges, eight acres of shotgun ranges and 145 children's play areas of various sizes. All of these are completely off-limits to dogs.
Search-and-rescue dogs, bomb, mine and drug-detecting dogs and the ordinary heroic family pet deserve fair and humane opportunities to exercise and play. And dog owners, like all taxpayers, deserve a fair share of public resources.
Steve Cockrell, President
Citydogs of San Francisco
NOTE: San Francisco Animal Care and Control estimates a population of 120,000 dogs in San Francisco. SF/SPCA estimates in excess of 150,000 dogs in the city.
RPD's Draft Citywide Dog Policy identifies 19 approved Dog Play Areas in San Francisco's 235 city parks -- fewer than one-in-ten.