Sunday, December 24, 2006

Let's Share the Beaches

San Francisco is not one of the world's best cities for dogs. It's not even the best dog city in the United States. Our businesses don't accommodate dogs well, our public transit maintains arbitrary and difficult rules for our animals, our dog parks resemble Beirut in the Summer of 2006, and we've been the fatal locale of the two most gruesome and publicized dog attacks of this century.

By any measure, we have a lot of work to do. Which is why when photos like this hit the internet-with an unleashed dog relieving itself within yards of several federally protected snowy plovers-we here at San Francisco's Dog Blog just shake our heads in disappointment. We have real issues to tackle in this City, yet irresponsible dog owners who can't be bothered to share beaches with other people-let alone other species-prevent us from making progress on issues that would actually make lives better for our dogs.

To be fair, it isn't clear that this dog is far from its owner, and we don't know for sure where this photo was taken. But letting a dog off-lead this close to protected species, to do what it's doing here, is not a good way to start a conversation about making San Francisco more accessible to dogs.

Our dogs mean the world to us. But that does not mean that the world belongs to our dogs. This dog couldn't possibly be expected to know that what it sees as a defecation zone is important habitat for these small birds, but its guardian should. Lets show some respect for the snowy plovers and move on to making our city a more accessible place for our dogs.

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