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     For as long as any of us can remember, dogs have run free in the area above the ballfields at Big Rec. One of our group's guardians claims to have 294 years with their dogs at Big Rec. That's 42 human years. In March, the beat gardener for Big Rec ask us to help her get covers for the trash cans, as the ravens were continually empting them. Steve, her District Superintendent, had ignored her pleas for two months. Obviously, some of us dogs could chase these birds away, but some of our number have actually been attacked by these critters and so our guardians contacted the vender for trash can covers and started taking a collection to help keep our area clean. Well, Steve wrote up Vicky for "going ourside the system" by talking to the public and simply removed the 6 trashcans, making it hard to be good citizens.

On Sept.1 this year, RPD posted two of these signsin our area, high up in trees, and started giving out tickets.

Being good citizens, we put together a patition:

Yomi Agunbiade
Acting General Manager
SF Recreation and Parks Department

Mr. Agunbiade;

     Big Rec Dog respectively requests formal reorganization of an established off-leash dog area in the non-recreational areas surrounding the Big Rec baseball fields. For as long as anyone can remember, Recreation and Park policy has allowed dogs to run and play in areas outside of the paved paths surrounding the Big Rec fields. Many current guardians have safely used this space for over 42years and a strong diverse community of dogs and guardians has developed because of this. A changing of this policy is seriously impacting and fracturing our community.

     Per the Dog Policy approved May 8th, 2002 this area meets the criteria defined as “Orange Bone” :
In a park over 35 acres in size, soft barriers, clear signage defining no-dog areas, not precluding other recreational uses, adequate garbage cans, not a permitted active recreational area, nor is it a fragile ‘natural area’ or is the surface significantly impacted by the use of domestic animals. Recently, Park staff has unilaterally changed the policy and posted signage baring all off-leash dog use of the entire area. Mounted police have begun randomly citing individual dog guardians in areas traditionally considered off-leash space.
      Per the Dog Policy approved May 8th, 2002, we request consideration of formal off-leash designation of what has traditionally always been an established off-leash area.


Big Rec Dog

   We collected 180+ signatures, representing 1,059 human years of off-leash use of Big Rec (7,423 dog years) and presented it to the San Francico Dog Advisory Committee for consideration. Mr. Agubiade replied with a denial letter before the DAC could even consider our request and RPD staff put up more signs:

They also removed another trashcan that serves a very large area of the Park. We civic-minded dogs pay attention to these things. Some of our number has left their dues where the can was and a sign is.

There are now 8 signs in this small area telling us to go away, more then in all the rest of the Park; all before even allowing the DAC to even consider our request as required by their own Dog Policy.

A little reality check: Dogs have played off-leash at Big Rec as long as there has been a Big Rec and we will continue to play there. We have tried to be good citizens and work with RPD. We are more then willing to take a part in picking up litter and doing everything possible to make Big Rec and all of our Park the wonderful welcoming urban retreat it should be. The actions of RPD have made us all criminals and only served to alienate those that use and care most deeply for our park.


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