Ask Bernalwood: Is Stealing from Recycling Bins OK? Is Precita Park On-Leash?


Neighbor Elizabeth is a newcomer to the Dominion of Bernalwood, but she arrives in our lands with a sincere desire to embrace the ways and customs of the Bernalese people. Specifically, she has two questions:

My name is Elizabeth, and my husband and I (and our two dogs) moved to the neighborhood just about 5 weeks ago. We are loving it so far! I have a couple of random questions and I figured I would send them your way, if you don’t mind…

Recycling Theft — this seems to happen extremely frequently. I see the same people doing it like clockwork. Recology makes it sound like it is a huge deal, is illegal, etc. What is the community’s position towards it? Are we indifferent to it happening? I know there are MANY more issues the SFPD has to worry about… But I wanted to get someone else’s perspective. From what I have read it does ultimately drive up the cost to residents, not to mention it is pretty creepy.

Precita Park — I have noticed signs everywhere stating that dogs are to be on a leash… But no dogs ever are, in fact it seems to be exactly where dog owners bring their dogs to take them OFF the leash. I don’t feel comfortable letting my dogs off-leash given it’s a new area, proximity to traffic, etc. — and it can be a little frustrating when an off-leash dog runs up to my dog who is on a leash.

Two very random questions, if you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them.

Elizabeth sent her questions yesterday afternoon, but last night she sent this alarming follow-up:

How incredibly ironic that I emailed you today… Our beagle was attacked tonight by an off-leash dog in Precita Park. (She is currently at the emergency vet having surgery.)


Formally, Elizabeth’s questions are matters of law, but in actual practice the answers are determined by Bernal custom and social norms. And since opinions on such things may differ, it seems appropriate to open the questions up so all Bernalese can provide Neighbor Elizabeth with the answers she seeks.

Please take to the comments, and with kindness and Bernal generosity in your heart, please answer her questions based on your own neighborly expertise.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

134 thoughts on “Ask Bernalwood: Is Stealing from Recycling Bins OK? Is Precita Park On-Leash?

  1. I can’t wait to see what replies this post brings out. What? No questions about parking??

  2. Recycling theft has always bugged. I’ve been assured by my anti-establishment friends that its really cool to let the little guy make a little money. But when the little guy is bringing his load to a freelance truck, and we’re sending a big official truck around to do the same task, isn’t that more traffic, oil consumption and carbon in the air?

  3. When people steal your recycling they are stealing from everyone in the city. This is supposed to be a small revenue source or a subsidy to help keep your garage collection fees lower.
    Unfortunately, there is no stopping this unless you want to put electrified fence around your garbage. On my street I can’t even rely on waiting until the AM to bring out the cans because the collectors have variable collection times and have been known to come before 7am on occasion.
    Sorry about your dog. This happens to be another issue with no solution although probably easier to fix if our neighbors would just keep their dogs on a leash.
    Has no group ever asked for a caged dog run? Or is this not organic and PC enough? Seems like there is plenty of room for it.

    • “This is supposed to be a small revenue source”

      From what I’ve heard, recycling itself actually isn’t profitable for the city; the main benefit to the city budget from recycling comes from the reduced need for landfill space – and that benefit is still there regardless of who takes the recycling.

      So while this might be a loss to Recology, I’m not yet convinced the city budget is worse off for it.

      • yeah I tend to agree. You would think if it were hurting Recology’s bottom line that they wouldn’t charge you for the privilege of using a lock. Or maybe it’s because ultimately they can just pass rate increases to residents anyway as they have a monopoly and it’s illegal not to have garbage service.

  4. 1) The recycling “thievery” isn’t a big deal to me. The stuff all gets recycled anyway, it just redistributes a small amount of wealth to a segment of people that are able-bodied but probably resistant to being managed by others, plus a few handlers with big trucks who are scum. But both they and their handlers could be doing an awful lot worse things than skimming off the city recycling budget, and we must ask ourselves what we’d rather have them doing instead.

    2) Bernal is “for the dogs” and I don’t think these are the parks people seriously consider lying down in the grass in. But since lots of people do lie in the grass in Precita park it’s certainly arguable the dog owners should be forced to trudge up to the top of the hill if they want to go off-leash.

    In any case, inviolable responsibilities for a dog owner are 1) The dog is well-behaved enough to go off-leash *anywhere* 2) The owner studiously picks up after the dog *everywhere* 3) The dog does not present a traffic hazard (some owners think their dog is safe off-leash but is NOT) 4) The dog does not present a threat to *anything* *ever*. We should have licensing requirements on dog ownership that mandate these of course.

    The dog that attacked your beagle should be put down at once and please let us know this has happened. There are plenty of stupid idealists wandering these hills who try to rescue dogs that are well beyond help. Those who breed and/or abuse dogs into that state should feel the full force of criminal justice for doing so but rarely are.

      • Thank you. Yes — we are filing a report with the SFPD and we have contacted Animal Control as well to ensure it is properly reported and handled. Would HATE for this to ever happen to anyone else.

    • “The dog that attacked your beagle should be put down at once and please let us know this has happened.”

      Hi there. This is not only inappropriate, but it’s a massive overreach from what the animal code for the city says. Period.

      It’s easier for people to understand protocol surrounding dog issues when we all agree to leave our presuppositions at the door and defer to better judgment. Which, when given no information beyond a beagle was bitten, is by no means to kill the other dog.

      Full code on this is here:

      And to be clear, dogs can get mad at one another and bite even while on leash. Leashing isn’t a simple solution to dogs being not-humans.

      • No it is not an overreach. Code as you cited:

        “(ii) In the event that a biting dog causes severe injuries to a person or other animal the Director of Public Health may recommend that such dog be declared a menace to the public health and safety and he shall so inform the District Attorney by a written complaint The District Attorney shall then bring said written complaint to the Municipal Court for a finding that the dog is a menace to the public health and safety. If the Court finds the dog to be a menace to the public health and safety, the owner thereof shall be subject to the provisions of paragraph (c) of this Section, and upon order of the Court, the Animal Control Officer or a Police Officer shall impound. hold and humanely destroy the dog in accordance with the procedures of paragraph (c) of this Section.”

        And we weren’t just given information that the beagle was bitten, we were told the attack was severe enough to require surgery. The authorities can determine the validity and circumstances, and based on what was reported I have only requested that current code be enforced.

      • Is the answer really to KILL this dog because the code says that you would be within your rights? Why are we not punishing the owner instead (like a citation for off the leash walking as well as paying for any damages)? Its not the offending dogs fault he bit your beagle, its the owners.

      • Ryan, the beagle was the on-leash dog, the attack dog was off-leash in an on-leash park. At least according to this account. The owner forfeited their violent dog with that combination.

        Thankfully you at least claim below to keep your rescued drug dealer/fighting dog on-leash. I suggest if an off-leash dog approaches it, you grab your animal by the collar and yell away the oncoming dog. A responsibility which you seem indifferent to. If your dog _was_ on leash and still severely attacked another animal or person (outside of unmistakable self-defense…not what _you’d_ consider self-defense, what impartial judges would) I would suggest the combination of you both were a public menace. An awful-yet-familiar pairing of over-optimistic softness and inbred violence.

      • Hey Peter,

        Yes in case you didn’t catch from my posts, I am opposed to you walking your pure-bred labradoodle off the leash in an on-leash park, because it creates the situation you describe, of having off-leash dogs accosting my on leash dog. My dog has never attacked another dog, she is afraid of other dogs because of her past. You’re being insensitive to the fact that some dogs have troubled pasts and whether they were owned by a drug dealer or not, they can adapt to be loving pets, as mine has. So to sum up, the place for dogs like mine is an on-leash park where she can feel secure, and the place for your 10,000 dollar off the leash pure bred labradoodle is an off the leash park.

        I dont need your suggestions about what to do when your labradoodle attacks my dog, you seem to still think that responsibility is on me. Its actually on you. All you really need to do to find out what the general opinion of you only following laws you like is, read the rest of the posts here.

        “I suggest if an off-leash dog approaches it, you grab your animal by the collar and yell away the oncoming dog.” — I do do this, but I shouldnt have to just because you enjoy having your dog off leash at the park you like as opposed to the appropriate park 5 min away.


      • I don’t actually have a dog at the moment Ryan though I wish I had time to. I would not get a rescue nor would I get a GMO-designed Labradoodle.

        However I do want to point out in this instance that the pit bull is the liberal version of the gun. Your position is clear: pit bulls don’t attack other dogs, the pit bull owner attacks the other dog. This is exactly like saying, “But I love my gun, it’s a good gun, and just because I found it on a dead gangster doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to load & concealed carry it in the park.”

        If I see an eight year old in the park with a baseball bat, fair enough, I give the benefit of the doubt this bat is going to be used for sport and not for killing people, which it certainly could be. But if the eight year old is carrying a loaded handgun in the park because his hickpappy thinks that’s what makes him a man, I have quite a different reaction. Now the kid may use the baseball bat to kill someone in case the kid is sent to juvey and we destroy the bat. But it’s fair for society to exercise prior restraint against the loaded gun (and I wish they would do far more of that) because the gun is intentionally designed to harm.

        Sorry but pit bulls are bred by the scum of the earth intentionally to harm other dogs and other gangsters. Yes I know some people who would never hurt anyone with their handguns. But in both cases an extraordinary responsibility falls upon the owner and, should anything go wrong for any reason, so does the bulk of culpability.

        The reports below of the screaming during the dog attack are horrifying and categorically incompatible with Bernal Heights. We need to defend ourselves from violence, even if the inadvertent product of good intentions.

      • Wow. I don’t even have a dog, and I’m kinda shocked at how many people are so eager and quick to recommend dirt naps for other people’s pooches…


      • If someone’s designed-to-fight pit bull can go ahead and kill or maim designed-for-companionship dogs without serious consequence, that means gangsters and their apologists/enablers are free to prevent the rest of the public from taking their dogs to the park by fiat. Since there are some 50M dogs in the country the vast majority of which are designed-for-companionship (and yes all modern dogs are human “designed” breeds) there is intense public interest to prevent that outcome no matter how many heartstrings you may try to pull.

        Our far left pit bull rescuers not only want us to enable their terrorizing the nonviolent dogs, they ironically invoke an authoritarian solution of demanding everyone keep their dogs on leash. Here also ironically the bleeding heart liberal finds themselves claiming the victim brought it upon themselves by how they were dressed (without a leash). Their precious pit bull is the victim, not the criminal, and must be allowed to continue unchallenged.

        If we took that position and didn’t destroy pit bulls when they attack innocent dogs and others the kettle would come to a full boil and we would ban the breed entirely and euthanize any found immediately as an inherent public menace, which has been done in some jurisdictions and represents the far right remedy.

        Thus the pit bull rescuer should actually be insisting the pit bulls that do attack other dogs be euthanized immediately so that their dogs won’t have to be when things get too far out of hand. With few enough pit bull attacks the reputation of the breed could be rehabilitated.

    • 100% agree with all of the above. No problem with off-leash dogs or recycling theft, as long as doing so doesn’t negatively effect others.

      • Ryan – I wholeheartedly agree with you. I too have a rescue who is afraid when other dogs run up to him. It’s frustrating when people have dogs off leash who, while socialized with people, are obviously not socialized to other dogs. Of course you do what you can to protect both dogs but ultimately if a dog is not under voice control and instigates other dogs, it’s pretty hard to not hold the owner responsible when the dog is harmed.

      • Doug – you can’t control your off leash dog… so your comment is really very unhelpful. What you’re proposing is to have an event happen like it did last night and then go back in time and put that dog on a leash because “hey- i guess something bad did happen” ??

        No. The way to do this is to follow the rules so we can all be safe.

    • “The dog that attacked your beagle should be put down at once and please let us know this has happened. ” –Neighbor Peter

      As a proud “stupid idealist,” surrounded by other stupid idealists who have rescued dogs & lived happily ever after. In many cases (gasp) these were even full or part pit-bulls. In my case, we rescued a pit-bull mix who we fostered & rehomed. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of, so I will wear my new stupid idealist badge with honor. I realize that humans have done a great disservice to the pitbull breed, but does that not give us some responsibility?

      I’ve also been involved in an aggressive dog hearing. No, not the “liberal version of a gun” foster causing trouble, but my CKC Spaniel who was attacked. Nothing of the magnitude of the dear beagle, but there were issues that deserved attention. The hearing officer was a experienced & had empathy for both sides of the debate. He is just the kind of person we want doing this work and interpreting the code appropriately. There is so much to be done short of euthanizing a dog for a fight/attack: muzzles, on-leash at all times even at off-leash parks, banning from parks, etc. It’s likely someone loves the dog who attacked the beagle. Is it too much to ask for sympathy for those people? We don’t know their side of this. (I’m not saying it can be fully justified, but shouldn’t we be open.) Thank god the people in charge of the hearings have the experience, care/concern for dogs & people, & kindness to understand that euthanizing is a terribly serious last consideration.

      • Fran!

        How dare you be sympathetic, reasonable, and slow to kill?!?!

        Where do you live? Some tree-hugging hippie commune? This is San Francisco. We’d just as soon shoot ya as look at ya! Wait… historically, that’s actually true… Now I’m all confused…


      • Thank you Fran for expressing my similar thoughts w your deep experience…dogs like humans, can & do make mistakes & F up sometimes…we start w them, no more 2nd chances…where do I get my “stupid idealist” Bernal Chapter pin???

        I believe the first city scavengers came from Bernal shortly after booting out the dairy cows 18 or 19 84ish & settling the area now known as Bernalwood…if they suddenly disappeared, who would come next?….

        Bernal: love it or stay forever…

  5. I know we can’t complain too much about the recycling theft or we’ll be labeled privileged something-or-others but for some reason it does irk me. Part of me would like to believe that if our recycling *actually* made it to Recology’s centers, it would help pay for better services / slower rate increases. but yeahhh….

  6. As to recycling: yes it’s illegal, but it’s not ever enforced. I have less of a problem with it knowing that it is some people’s only way of making a living. What bothers me more is doing it in the middle of the night, making noise, leaving garbage, etc.

    As to dogs…well, technically Precita is leash-only, and Bernal Hill is off leash. However, bad dogs who get in fights are sometimes leashed and sometimes not. I feel for Elizabeth because she should not have to worry that some random dog will attack hers. But that would be true regardless of where you take your dog. A friend had a vicious dog attack hers and both were leashed.

    • I guess we should just throw our hands up and say “ah, well!” This is a great example of false equivalence: (

      I’m sure you or anyone else can find an opposite case somewhere out there in the world, but that doesn’t mean it is equivalent. If your dog is on a leash, we can control better how they meet, and for how long. Dogs can become nervous if leashed and another dog comes up to it unleashed.

      Basically, no. Leash. Your. Dogs.

  7. I, too, am irked by the recycling theft. I try to let it go by rationalizing that turning a blind eye is an easy way to help those less fortunate than I am. I can more easily absorb a rate increase than the thieves can absorb the loss of what might be their only income stream. But I feel a lot less charitable about it when I see the regular group of people who are working for one guy with a big truck and realize that it’s not just one immigrant or pensioner trying to make ends meet, it’s an organized business.

    • The noise is a nuisance.

      We agree to let recology operate a truck and crew to manage recycling (and keeping the recycling is part of their compensation contract)

      We don’t collectively agree to let creepers noisily sift through our recycling late at night / at 4am looking for the more valuable pieces.

      It’s pretty damn annoying, and against the law.

  8. I am sorry to hear about your dog and hope he heals well.
    We call the group that culls through our trash the gleaners. Two of our neighbors actually come out to give them bottles and cans before Recology comes.
    The problem with this is that our garbage company invested a great deal of money in the trucks and the actual operation of recycling. They actually offset operational costs by selling the recyclable materials. SF has one of the best recycling programs in the country so I would rather have all of my stuff going into their trucks.

  9. Sorry that happened! Precita Park is an on leash park. It’s been an on leash park for a very long time. That said, there is a unspoken rule that if you dog is off leash, you better make sure your dog is under voice command and pretty cool around other dogs and kids and everyone else. I have seen dogs attacked, and some kids as well. It can be as innocent as a push by an off leash dog on a kid, or an attack as your dog experienced. The hill is a great place for off leash dogs! Have dog attacks in Precita Park happened to others lately? Please let us know at We’ll address this with the Recreation and Parks Department in our next meeting, which is this Saturday at Charlie’s Cafe from 9:30-10:30am.

  10. Law is Precita Park is on lease, custom is that it’s not. My suggestion is to either have a fenced off off-leash dog area or better yet a fenced area that is no dog, so both children and their parents can run on the grass with the expectation that they won’t win the doggie easter egg hunt.

    So sorry to hear about your beagle, problems occur between dogs when one is on leash and the other off because of a perceived power imbalance by the dogs. Bernal Heights park is the largest off leash park in the city so keep that in mind once your dog friend recovers. I certainly hope you were able to contact the owner of the off leash dog who attacked your dog.

    • Fence in the humans and law-abiding dog owners so that people who can’t figure out leashes take over the park? Was that a tongue in cheek comment?

  11. Hi Elizabeth and welcome to the neighborhood!

    First, I’m so sorry to hear that your dog was attacked. I do hope that she will be okay and that the responsible dog owner is planning to pay for the vet bills. As a dog owner myself, I can completely relate to the issue of off-leash dogs. Our dog tends to be leash reactive when approached by an off- leash dog so unfortunately we’ve had to stay away from Bernal Heights and Precita Parks since a lot of owners don’t pay attention to their dogs (too busy chatting on the phone or walking 50 yards ahead) or the dogs aren’t under reliable voice command. It’s not worth the risk for us.

    The only thing that really bothers me about the recycling “thieves” is that the one who often frequents our neck of Bernalwood likes to use our garbage bags. She will literally pull the trash out of the bin, untie it, dump all of the garbage back into the bin and then go through all our recycling. It’s pretty gross, she’s not always very neat about it and given that she and her crew drive off in a brand new Honda Civic, completely unnecessary as I’m sure she can afford to buy some garbage bags of her own. My wife has yelled at her multiple times so she usually heads in the other direction when she sees us. (that and it’s pretty creepy when you walk out the door and unexpectedly find someone going through your garbage!)

    Hope everything works out with the pooch!

  12. I can’t bring myself to get annoyed by homeless people recycling my junk for cash – we pay to help the homeless one way, or we pay another way. It’s really Recology’s problem, not mine, and if they care enough they should find a solution to it that works for everyone.

    (Except, of course, when the scavengers throw my stuff around and leave a mess, which happens rarely but leaves me feeling quite homicidal.)

    • We pay the professional (maybe union-member?) recology crews in only one way – through the contract they signed with us, citizens of SF. Is this difficult to understand?

      And, by the way, very few of these scavengers are homeless anyway – as if it would be a valid argument even if they were.

  13. Elizabeth:

    Welcome to the neighborhood!

    Re: off-leash dogs, I simply avoid areas full of off-leash dogs, even to the extent of crossing the street if I see one coming our way. I am sure some of these off-leash dogs are friendly, but it takes only one bite.

    The safety of my dogs outweigh the principle of demanding others to follow the rules.

    For consolation, I give stink eyes to those who let their dogs walk off-leash.

    The benefit is that I walk longer, or run more, as a way to make up for not allowing my dogs to run off-leash. The trade-off is worthwhile.

  14. One of the first things we learned very quickly after moving to Bernal nearly two years ago was that recycling “theft” is a thing. In fact, a few months ago when a friend was housesitting in Bernal, he called me asking if there was a recycling center in town due to all the noise. Despite the negative impact it has on the neighborhood, we feel it is something we can’t do much about. It unfortunately means lots of rummaging and noise either very late at night or very early in the morning just outside our window. We actually started sorting recyclable bottles in a separate bag to put on top when we put our bins out for pick up, hoping that it will reduce rummaging. Not sure what else can be done.

    Welcome to the neighborhood and hope your dog is doing better!

  15. Putting the legality to one side, I’ll give my perspective in terms of the effects on other people.

    The possible negative effect on residents of recycling theft is a small increase in cost of our trash service. The positive effect on the ‘perps’ is a source of income, albeit small. I’d feel bad denying them that, so I happily support the ‘theft’. In five years living here, I’ve never once seen them leave a mess around my can. I have heard complaints of noise at 4am, so perhaps that could be improved. If I have a party, I sometimes leave a separate box with the bottles, cans etc to actively support it.

    The possible negative effect of an off-leash dog is the maiming of a person or other animal, which could change a person’s life, and have financial costs. While only a small fraction of such dog owners would be so irresponsible to allow this to happen, it does happen as Elizabeth attests to. The other possible effect is that off leash dogs can more easily sneak out a poop w/o their owners noticing, as I have observed myself. On the plus side, off leash dogs make the lives of the dogs and their owners more enjoyable. Personally, as a parent and as someone who enjoys dogs but does not own one, I wish dog owners would keep their dogs on leash, and I wish the rules were occasionally enforced with fines, in order to discourage owners allowing their dogs off-leash. When I consider the option of owning a dog myself, I’m immediately put off by the huge responsibility and liability of doing so in dense city like ours.

    So I don’t think it’s a simple case of, “it’s the law, stick to it”, because not all laws are good laws, and some have hidden motives. I’d ask the question “what effect does it have on the other people in our community?”, which for me nets out at: recycling ‘theft’ is OK, but off-leash dogs in PP is not. I can see why other people’s values would lead them to differ on this.

    • “Not all laws are good laws and some have hidden motives?” I’ll mail in a statement to that effect–without payment—next time I get a parking citation. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

  16. About the garbage can looting I have problems because I have to lug my garbage down three flights of stairs and I’ve gone to all the trouble of sorting it for someone in a pickup truck to carry off without having to go to the trouble of sorting it out. There’s one small woman who goes out in my area as well as the pickup truck guys. You can hear them every day shifting the big loads. Yes, I thought the cans and bottles were to help pay the bill. I don’t know what can be done about it.

  17. Regarding the recycling: I don’t have space for a big recycling can when the city came up with 3 separate cans it was a problem for my family as there is no garage but a very small area to keep 2 cans.. so the small blue stays out (against the law and we put our recycling in it regularly so the various people living on the fringes take some away and I have enough space for everything. I think the people who go around doing this would prefer another option but not everyone does. Thanks recyclers… you also go through the city cans and take what you can.

  18. Re: dogs off leash. Some breeds or individual dogs are suited to walking next to their owners off leash and pride themselves in knowing how to do this. I have a border collie mix and although still only a year old is under voice control and is eager to follow the rules.

    • Oh – Good for you! I guess that means you should do what you want and become a role model for idiots with pets who don’t know how to control their dogs. Instead, you could be a better neighbor and leash your dog to send the proper, safer message. Show off your fancy breed at an off-leash park.

      • Eric. Tell me: are you just having a laugh? Are you really Psychrn’s border collie mix “a fancy breed?” Good one!!!

  19. I recently moved here as well and am not impressed with the dog-off-the-leash thing. Take your dog to a place where there aren’t leash laws, please. Some of our dogs are not great with other dogs (can be breed specific) and they do not react well to random dogs running up to them. Also I have noticed that a lot of dog owners think they have control over their dogs but they dont. That said, most of the dog owners that do this at Holly Park are pretty good.

  20. Hello and welcome to the neighborhood, where it is forbidden to steal off-leash dogs from recycle bins.

    Just kidding.

    Lots of folks here in our fair city see the rules as ‘optional,’ that is, the rules apply to everyone else but me. Just as it is viewed as ‘optional’ for bicyclists to ride on sidewalks or stop at stop signs, it is regarded as ‘optional’ for dog owners to leash dogs in Precita Park, and it is seen as ‘optional’ for scavengers to raid your recycle bin.

    All of the above will continue until rules are enforced by duly appointed officials, i.e. the cops.

  21. Thank you to everyone for your input and well-wishes for our pup. To make things even worse, in the chaos of it all, the owner of the other dog UNLEASHED our dog while the attack was underway (I suppose in an attempt to separate them) and our dog ran away, across traffic into the night. Thank GOODNESS nothing worse happened to her and we were able to get her back home.

    I am glad to hear we are not alone in our feelings and your responses help provide a lot of perspective on both issues.

    Our dog was at the ER Vet on Alabama last night (they were amazing, although I hope you never have to use them). Had to have stitches and 4 drains inserted to help reduce inflammation and swelling. We picked the Bernal Heights neighborhood because of how incredibly dog-friendly it is… We all love going up to Bernal Hill on the weekends. It is such a bummer that this happened to her and I hope that she will bounce back in her own time to the sweet and welcoming dog she is. We have been in touch with Animal Control as well as the SFPD to get the incident reported and handled as necessary. As a lot of you have advised, I think from now on, we will be avoiding areas where dogs are constantly off-leash when our girls can and should not be themselves.

    Again, really appreciate all of the input — feel the support from the community, which means a lot after only having moved her a month ago.

    • I’m so sorry for your pooch! The offending dog wasn’t by chance a silver pitbull was it? That poor animal has an owner with a terrible history of not disciplining his dog and she’s had several events (I think her name is Destiny?)

    • Very sorry that you can not make use of the public space you are legally entitled to, due to the insane attitudes of uneducated pet owners.

    • Well, to chime in on a cheerful note: she’s a beagle, and should shake it off pretty quickly. That’s a resilient breed!

      Regarding the animal control/SFPD mechanisms:

      You’ll go thru a process at “dog court” which culminates in a hearing at city hall before the sole SFPD dog police guy. (Sorry, I forget the officer’s name.) This is basically a hearing to determine the outcome for the attacking dog. The options are: do nothing; assign a set of conditions to the dog owners (dog must always be on leash, must be muzzled, etc); the dog gets the death penalty.

      We went thru this process a few years ago, and it was fairly straightforward and our outcome was successful (in that legalistic sense where everyone walks away equally unhappy). I am very happy to report that the ‘offending’ dog owners in our case respected the process and have adhered to their conditions, and the end result has been very Bernal and neighborly. YMMV, of course. Good Luck!

      • Thank you for that!

        A process that ended with everyone satisfied and no gun duels at dawn or bodies to burn!

        I don’t know how to make the “angels parting the clouds with harp music” sound in words… but that goes here.

  22. I’m so sorry to hear about your dog! There is a playground, two elementary schools and traffic right near the park. I assume these are the reasons behind the law mandating dogs in Precita Park be on leash. Kids from Flynn use Precita Park for PE, Field day, and many other school activities. A 5th grader doing his PE running was attacked by an off leash dog a few years ago and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I know people believe that their dogs will be fine, and maybe if those people pay attention, have well trained dogs and keep their dogs within reach then it will be. Unfortunately, those things don’t always happen and when people see other dogs off leash they assume they can let their dogs off too. It’s dangerous to allow each person to decide for her/himself whether they will obey the law. I think that if people want to have an off-leash area in Precita Park then they should petition for a change in the law. There is a fenced playground on one end for kids, maybe we could have a fenced area for dogs on the other end. In between dogs could be kept on leash and possibly we won’t have so much poop everywhere. I really don’t get why people don’t just pick up after their dogs, and I wonder if allowing them to run around off leash without watching them is contributing to that. Before Flynn events I have walked the park with a trash bag picking up poop and there’s enough to fill a large hefty bag. It’s outrageous. Anyway, those are my thoughts for what they’re worth.

    • You make a good point that distracted owners chatting or otherwise disengaged with an off leash dog may contribute to poops left in the park. As an 8-yr dog owner I can proudly say I’ve never left poop. Dog owners don’t like to step in dog shit anymore than anyone else. Ignoring this says a lot about the person, & nothing good.

      That said, come now, you walked PP & found enough dog crap to fill a large hefty bag. Like a 30 gallon trash bag? I’m really straining to see how anything like that could possibly be true. But of course at the bottom of all this is that city residents perennially angry over stray poop as their #1 quality of life issue are legion & always have been. Capitalizing on this is what got Harvey Milk his first Supervisor gig, after all.

  23. Recycling: Folks going through your recycling when it’s left out on the curb can be somewhat annoying if they’re loud, but it’s otherwise harmless.

    Precita Park: Posted signs that says leashes are required but Precita is de facto off leash park and has been for decades.

    Just my $0.02

    • And for decades dogs and people have been harassed by misbehaved dogs off-leash. Just because something has happened for a long time, doesn’t mean it is right.

  24. There are probably two pools of responses to these questions.

    Pool one: the self-selecting, semi-anonymized respondents to a niche neighborhood website
    Probably going to be pretty upset about both. Someone will probably propose extreme solutions for perceived sleights relative to both prompts. Name-calling might happen.

    Pool two: your actual neighbors, face-to-face
    Probably going to be pretty flexible and reasonable about both, or at least willing to explore some situational nuance. Probably no name calling, but maybe you’ll get a bag of front yard figs or maybe a fancy bottled beer as a welcome. You may be invited to dinner.

    • Maybe our actual neighbors need an outside opinion, though. Maybe they’ve been inside the bubble for a little too long. When I came here from NYC I thought it was extremely rude that people would let 100 dogs off leash in the park when the signs said not to do that and there is a real off-leash park 5 minutes away. It would be considered rude in any other place I’ve lived, not just New York. I have a pitbull, shes a rescue and she doesn’t react well to dogs running up to her when shes on a leash and they are not (this is psychologically uncomfortable for them). I keep her close to me and on a leash and explain the reasons why to owners of other leashed dogs when they want to meet her. I think my dog has a right to live and a right to walk in the park. If you have a tiny yappy dog who is off the leash and you do not have control, its possible that my dog will hurt that dog. Would you want to put her down if that happened? In my opinion it would be the off leash owners fault.

      Reasonable: walk your dog off leash in off leash parks and on leash in on leash parks.
      Misguided SF activist: my dog deserves to be free! All dogs are nice and respectful!

      • You’re using “psychologically uncomfortable” as shorthand or metaphor, right?

      • news flash, pitbull becomes super aggressive around other animals / small beings.

      • Ryan, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, as I fully respect your comments & predicament. Personally, I’m torn. Practically speaking, I am about 60% in favor of flouting the on-leash law. My CKC Spaniel is well behaved, and I have a hard time getting her to poop on leash. She needs her time to run it out for a minute. And a lady needs a bit of privacy, I suppose. Mostly, I walk with her on leash, though.

        There is a school of though that pit bulls should not go to dog parks. That they should be exercised on leash elsewhere. I saw the wisdom in this when I had my foster pit mix. He just didn’t like boy dogs very much. I suspect he hadn’t been abused, but probably neglected (owners kicked him to the curb, after all). And he was not very nice to them. He & my spaniel were huge pals, but here & there he’d menacingly bark & look scary w stranger boy dogs. And no way could I ensure the other dog’s safety. (He was ALWAYS on leash, but things happen.) I only fostered this guy. (Update, the new owners were v experienced with pits & have been doing hard-core training to great success, but I’m pretty sure they keep him away from dog parks. It really didn’t seem his preferred activity.) I learned this philosophy from Rocket Dog Rescue. And you will not find bigger lovers of pit bulls anywhere. So, just a thought.

      • For the love of… WHY is simple logic not applied here?


        Even if your dog is a toothless, legless, lobotomized bag of pure love wearing a muzzle and encased in a plastic bubble, IF YOUR DOG IS NOT ON A LEASH, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

        (Allcaps=bolding, not yelling.)

      • You didn’t phrase it as a question, but: Yes. Of course two words can be shorthand.

        I was trying to ask in a friendly way if you really think psychology applies to dogs. Or was the phrase shorthand for the non-thought-based activity that was actually happening, but takes more words to describe?

        It’s all cognitive consonance and sunshine here… 🙂

  25. The police occasionally do crack down on the leash laws at Precita. It’s been a couple of years but if the ingle side dept gets enough complaints they would probably start their random checks where they issue citations to everyone whose dig is off leash… even the little ones.

  26. Recycling: Agree with comments saying that recycling theft is low cost to us and probably significant income to those who do it, so nbd as long as nobody makes a mess (and messy thieves should be dealt with individually. I suspect a big “please be neat” sign on the top of a trashcan would do the trick most of the time).

    Dogs: As a person who doesn’t own a dog but also doesn’t like people telling me what to do, I understand the position that a responsible dog owner should be able to take his/her dog off leash if that dog is sufficiently trained to do so safely, regardless of the “official” rules. One of the things that’s great about bernal is that we have a real community that people participate actively in. As a result the social pressure to be responsible really should be what controls behavior, not a catch-all rule that is unfair to some in the hopes of controlling the behavior of others. IMHO, it’s better to deal directly and politely with a few bad eggs than create a police state over the issue, which is impersonal and not really positive for the community as a whole.

    • Fair enough.

      If an off-leash dog injures my dog, or my child, I will react to the maximum of my abilities. Let’s deal directly and personally.

      • Well, at least you seem calm and open to an honest dialogue.

        Veiled threats of unpleasantness often make things better for everyone!


  27. OK, I am biased. I worked at the Health Center in the TL for a couple dozen years, and came to have great respect for the guys who push shopping carts around, collecting recyclables. Most are homeless, many had serious mental health challenges, and a lot were addicted. But here’s the thing: they were working. Nobody would have given them a job, but they preferred to have a function, a role in society, and to make their own money. Maybe only $10 or $20 a day, but they made it. I came to respect them, and think the City should honor their labor, maybe have an occasional pizza party for them. Does it detract some from “Recology”? Sure. But I remember that before their green-sounding name change, they were c called Sunset Scavengers. They are the original scavengers, with the trucks and the exclusive contract– and constant intimations of organized crime involvement. At least we know that they are not hurting. The solo recyclers have always been disdained, but are self-employed. I see it as supporting street-level capitalism vs. corporate. I’m sure others see it differently, but I take my hat off to these guys– they work hard pushing their loads, rather than slanging drugs.
    Hope your beagle gets well and is not too afraid to return to the park.

  28. Hi and Welcome!

    The trash theft happens all over this city unless you live in a building that is inaccessible to the Trash “ring”.
    I work in Noe and I see them in the Panhandle /Haight area too. There is no solution to this other than bringing your cans out the minute you hear the trucks (unreasonable solution).

    Off leash dogs. I have a dog and while he’s good off leash with other dogs, I do not take him off leash at PP. I own a Pug and he’s one of the kindest breeds but some people are scared of all dogs and I don’t want to cause undue anxiety.
    I think it’s irresponsible for owners to assume that they can control their dog in every situation. I volunteer at the ACC and I’ve seen dogs come into our custody and they have had no history of aggressive behavior in the past. You just never, ever know. That’s why I always advise dog owners to always leash their dogs and don’t do a “meet and greet” outside while both dogs are leashed.
    I always walk my dog to the opposite side of the street when I see an off leash dog coming our way. I had a tense moment bunt he evenig when someone walked down the back steps from Mirabel with an off leash AKITA!! I almost ran across the street with my dog out of concern for both of us.
    I hope your beagle gets well soon and I hope to see you all around the hood!

  29. MY FAMILY came here from Italy in the 1880s. At that time, Italians were not considered white and there was outright discrimination against hiring them. Literally there’d be signs saying “No Italians need apply” in store windows. My family began recycling rags, bottles, cans, cooking grease (for making soap), and other things of value. This effort employed lots of my family and eventually led to today’s garbage companies in SF and Oakland.

    I’m of two minds on this. I want to see immigrants and people down on their luck succeed. On the other hand, the people who come around and grab recyclables tend to make big messes of things, grabbing only the stuff with clear value and scattering everything else.

  30. Elizabeth, that’s horrible! I hope your dog is OK. I’m glad you’ve reported the incident to the authorities.

    We used to live in a Midwestern college town where you’d see a few off-leash dogs in on-leash areas, but the prevailing ethos was that you could only do this if your dog was so well-trained/mild-mannered that he/she was under your complete control. Here, I think people see off-leash dogs and think that it means that the leash rules don’t apply, no matter what your dog is like. Maybe that would always be the case in a bigger city where the population isn’t static and it’s harder for there to be a consistent culture on things like this. We took our dog to training classes when he was a puppy, and the instructor drilled it into our brains that some dogs just need to be on leashes (because of temperament, history, etc) and deserve not to be bothered by off-leash dogs running up and accosting them.

    My personal view is that if your dog is truly so well-trained/even-keeled/old that he/she is totally under your VOICE control, then great – take them anywhere off-leash. In Holly Park, where I often go, many of the “regulars” would qualify by this measure. I do not have one of those dogs. He likes to chase bicyclists and USPS carriers. One great thing about Bernal is that we have numerous terrific on- and off-leash areas very close by (on: Holly Park, Precita Park; off: Bernal Hill, St. Mary’s dog park). I have different expectations for each type. When I take my leashed dog to Bernal Hill, I go with the expectation that dogs may run up to him, might jump on me, etc. I think of it as “bar rules” – like you expect some behavior in a bar that would not be appropriate in the workplace. I once watched a couple repeatedly get angry on Bernal Hill when dogs, attracted by the smell of their cheese plate on their low picnic table, ran up and stuck their noses in it. Where did they think they were? But “bar rules” don’t extend to tendencies toward aggression (which doesn’t mean your dog is a bad dog – just that he/she should be on a leash). By contrast, in a park like Holly Park, I give people the (totally ineffective) stinkeye if their poorly controlled off-leash dog accosts my leashed dog – or if they have an extensible leash, which is one of the most pointless products ever, seeing as how it gives you no meaningful control over the dog, other than to keep it in a 15′ radius around where you’re standing. “He’s friendly,” is not a reason to let your dog run up to a leashed dog or jump on a child in an on-leash area. Loudly blaming the leashed dog for a barking incident instigated by the off-leash one is also not all that awesome – “Oh, THAT DOG is on a leash and isn’t allowed to play with you, sweetie.”

    Well, I’m going to have to wrap this compelling manifesto up without even addressing the problem of off-leash dogs on the Holly Park baseball field – because I know 12 other people who are ready to write about that one.

    • Here here! I judge you if you have a flexi-leash. They are a non-leash. Don’t use them, period.

  31. Welcome Elizabeth, your husband & two furbaby’s to Bernal Heights. First off, I sincerely hope your beagle is doing better and will have a quick recovery. So sorry all of you had to experience that.
    Bernal is typically known as dog-friendly, however, I echo what a lot of people have said. Unless you know your dog 100% is under control around other pets AND people, do not let them roam off leash. I am always scared for my Chihuahua even when she is always leash walked–anywhere. She just wouldn’t know how to protect herself.
    Sorry, but I don’t have anything to add about the people collecting recycling. That’s been a chronic problem here with basically no solution. I get annoyed when they come around so late or early and rile up the dogs in the neighborhood, barking. Usually on my street they don’t make a mess, thank goodness.

  32. So sorry to read about your dog and I wish the best.
    I’ll write what I remember about why our parks are marked as they are:
    Officially, there was a public meeting at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center in approximately 2000, where the three green areas were discussed. Precita Valley Neighbors was part of this discussion.
    The hill was deemed a good place for off leash dog play, although at that time the eastern, grassy area was still respected as a natural area , and “no dog use” was posted there. The sign has been removed from the eastern part, and people let their dogs roam there.
    The two downhill parks, Holly Park and Precita Park, were to be marked as “leash” parks so that children could run, play without worry.
    Since then, as you can see from the comments and also from what you observe, people generally decide themselves what is OK. Or, rather the people that do the deciding are overwhelming dog owners. They will tell you that there is no problem with off-leash dogs. But as you and your dog so painfully learned, this is very unfair. I’m sorry to say that there will still be the same dogs off leash the next time you go to the park as there were yesterday.
    And people with children crowd into the fenced play areas, to feel secure!
    And, so it goes.
    I do know many dog owners who are courteous, and respectul of others. They keep their dogs on leash. Thank you so much for wanting to be respectful in our community.

    I believe the recyclers are tolerated city-wide because it saves Recology a huge amount of money. Fewers workers, fewer trucks. There’s not much money to be made from cans and bottles, as Recology knows. So it is not stopped.

  33. Elizabeth, I am so sorry for what your beagle’s going through–hope her recovery is swift! My one and only dog was a beagle–loved him dearly.

    In SF the “dog lobby” is very strong. There are scores of selfish, irresponsible dog owners, along with thoughtless, spacy ones and yes some responsible ones. What a shame that you moved here because it’s “dog friendly” and now have to avoid Precita Park because of irresponsible human beings.

  34. For better or worse, there are no real laws in SF, only suggestions. Stealing recycling, smoking pot / drinking in the park, dog off leash, etc. None of these laws are enforced. On certain blocks you can even pitch a tent on the sidewalk, shoot heroin, poop on the sidewalk, and harass neighbors; and the cops will do nothing. Welcome the the hood!

    • ++++1 Best comment here.

      People tend to forget that SF is a CITY. Lesson One in a city is something called being “street-wise”. As our cities have gotten orders-of-magnitude safer in the past few decades, folks seem to have forgotten this.

      Street-wise means that there are ‘rules’ and there are rules. In rougher times, that meant such rules as:
      * don’t make eye contact with the drug dealers
      * the guys driving the Chronicle and Examiner delivery trucks are drunk and will not stop at stop signs or red lights
      * don’t walk thru the park after dark

      Now, I’m not complaining that the city is a gentler and safer place. Still, some of the old rules prevail. For one: behavior trumps signs. So if you see a sign “Dogs must be on Leash” and you see a dozen dogs off leash, guess what: that is a de-facto off-leash dog park. There is absolutely NOTHING unique about Precita Park in this regard. Lafayette Square, Alta Plaza, Esprit Park, are just a few with a similar m.o. Hell, our wealthier cousins in Lafayette Square have a damn cocktail party in the park on Fridays at 5 pm with their coiffed dogs off leash. Field trip opportunity!

      Another field trip opportunity: a visit to the Recology offices at 7th/Channel. Does it feel like stepping on the set of the Sopranos? Why yes, it does. Anyone looking mobbed-up? Anyone missing a finger or two? Why yes, at least one of the front-office employees fit this description. Well, perhaps that’s just appearances. It is left as an exercise for the reader to determine how their city-sanctioned monopoly and city-funded retirement fund came about in the mid-80s. So you can guess how those of us who actually remember that era feel about some poor slobs ‘stealing’ their recycling.

  35. The late night/early morning noise of the recycling “thieves” is the worst.

    I heard that tragic dog attack from my apartment last night with the windows closed. What a nightmare.

    • It. Was. Horrible. Thank God a car didn’t come and hit the poor dog while she frantically tried to escape.

  36. Elizabeth.

    So sorry to hear about your dog. I hope for a speedy recovery and many enjoyable days ahead at the park.

    Can we get a description of the violent dog/owner (and any others you all have come across,) please? My purpose is not so much to publicly shame as it is to keep my dog safe. I’ve already seen a number of dogs in my years on Bernal, who need far greater supervision from their owners. Those are the folks I keep a clear distance from, or intensely watch the interaction with my pooch.

    Again – here’s to a very speedy recovery for your beagle!

    • Why wouldn’t public shaming (at the very minimum) be appropriate?

      Also, curious to know about the breed.

    • Hi there — spoke with the SFPD more this week and the dog that attacked our beagle was a pitbull mix named Tucker.

  37. I don’t have answers. But it never hurts to keep facts in mind when you’re fighting to the death, I mean debating politely. 🙂

    Recycling is never profitable or break-even for a city. In fact only aluminum comes close to paying for itself. It costs actual dollars out of our budget to have a recycling program. $150 million last I checked.

    Recycling doesn’t exist because it helps. It exists to make you feel good. If you care about cost, fossil fuels, trucks and blah blah, then it actually is a negative practice.

    There is no shortage of landfill space. Trivia question: If you made a square landfill in Utah 35miles on a side and 300 feet deep, how many years of the entire US’s waste stream would it hold? *

    On the other hand…

    Recycling programs do employ lots of people. I like for people to have jobs…

    When people remove items from recycling bins, it becomes even MORE costly for the city.

    Sometimes they make a mess. (But who doesn’t?)

    It’s unstoppable, so who loses when you stress and worry and kick and scream about it? You do. Relaaaaxxxxx….


    How does this logic chain sound?

    1) It’s impossible for an animal to be completely under voice control. Some can be good; none can be perfect. No exceptions.

    2) Bad things will happen even if every dog is always leashed.

    3) More bad things will happen the more dogs are off-leash.

    4) If you are willing to accept that statistical risk, there exist off-leash parks in which to exercise that freedom.

    5) On-leash parks exist to reduce that risk.

    6) If one dog is too perfect to need a leash and is therefore an exception, then every dog is, and the purpose for the law is nullified.

    CONCLUSION: In Precita Park, even if your off-leash dog actually is perfect, it is still part of the problem.

    So don’t swim, fish! …I mean, Don’t let your dog off leash in an on-leash park!

    Also, if you don’t pick up your dog’s yuck in a public space, you are worse than gluten.

    * Answer: 1,000 years.

    • hmm pretty sure recycling aluminum is actually a good thing, despite the need for trucks to move it around. Think of all the energy used to mine bauxite out of the ground, smelt it and refine it. Even the ‘Aluminum Association’ recommends it, and it’s a safe bet they’d love for you to buy realtively expensive newly-forged aluminum cores.

      • My senior engineering project in college was a systems analysis of recycling. Aluminum recycling is definitely good for the environment as mining / refining aluminum takes > 10x the energy it takes to melt down scrap (note that it’s still somewhat energy intensive because the top of a can and the body of a can are different mixes).

        Recycling glass is absolutely terrible for the environment. It takes almost as much energy to melt scrap glass into new glass as it does to melt sand into glass. And when recycling, you’re doing a ton of extra transportation (uses a lot of energy and creates a lot of pollution) versus a “virgin” glass factory which is generally built next to a naturally forming large pile of sand. Also, when you throw a piece of glass trash in the ground, nothing bad happens.

        Paper is a tough one. It takes more energy to recycle than create virgin paper, but if you believe there is value in not chopping down trees, it could be net positive.

        Plastic is another tough one since you don’t really recycle plastic — you down-cycle it (you get a lower grade material, never as good as virgin plastic). But I’d argue it’s good since you’re keeping plastic out of landfills and plastic can leach toxics into groundwater as it decomposes.

        Last comment while I’m on this rant, PLEASE recycle your batteries. I’ve met lots of people who recycle but toss batteries in the trash. That is really bad for ground water contamination — and Recology will pick them up if you put them in a clear plastic bag and place them on top of your trash can (or take them to Walgreens, Target, Lowes, etc.).

      • Thanks for the info.

        Did you see my note about landfills? There is no landfill shortage.

        Paper is produced from trees grown specifically for that purpose. Those trees would not exist if it weren’t for paper production.

        Also, my main point is that recycling costs us a great deal of money for no other reason than to make us feel good while we are really doing nothing helpful, and probably harmful overall.

        Interestingly (kinda), this particular modern ritual is traceable to its origin: a gentleman who worked for the EPA. I forget his name, but its googleable.

        One single person, responsible for an entire modern, technologically advanced culture reverting to mucking about in its own waste. AND paying for the privilege.

        Our dogs may not be under voice control, but we sure are!


      • as I said in my comment, aluminum is indeed a special case. still not a financial boon for the city, but at least generates money. unless it gets pilfered out of the recology stream…

      • THE DAYS when everything ended up in a landfill are long gone. I have a hoarder housemate. It took a long time to convince him that he needed to save things or else they’d “go to waste”. No. At every step of the way there are people who will check to see if anything is usable.

        First, the rogue recyclers go through the trash. Second, the guys on the garbage truck check out things to see if there’s anything they want. Third, the people at the transfer station near Brisbane actively go through everything to save whatever can be sold for scrap. Fourth, Recology has an artist-in-residence program where budding artists make fun art out of cast-offs. Fifth, what’s left is trucked to Modesto or another contracted landfill, where people go through it all another time to see if there is anything the least bit salvageable out of the stuff before it’s finally dumped into a hole.

    • It’s my understanding that the compost that Recology produces is a money maker. It’s high quality. Many local farms, orchards, ranches use it. The other recyclables are less valuable or of no real value.

      And I do agree with your views about leashing dogs.

  38. Does this article raise two important issues that each deserved their own article, so that comments would be more pertinent?


  39. Has anyone come in contact with a dachshund and black and brown dachshund mix near folsom?

  40. Precita Park is an on-leash park. Thanks not to good fortune but instead thanks to hard work by Precita Valley Neighbors, Bernal Hill is a very attractive off-leash park. (If you are relatively new to the neighborhood, Bernal Hill used to be a much less inviting physical environment.) The way it is supposed to work is that we have a choice of either an on-leash experience with dogs (Precita) or an off-leash experience (Bernal). The way it actually works is that some people decide to impose their preference for how Preicta Park should be used on the rest of us by physical fiat. The fact that people do it does not make it right or fair, and the fact that most of us tolerate it without confrontation doesn’t mean we do not care.

    That said, many neighbors are super courteous about keeping their unleashed dogs away from kids and others who are trying to use the park. That’s great. Unfortunately, they are in the minority of the off-leash users.

    Some people have an almost religious belief that running their dogs off-leash does not impact other park users. Absolutely nothing will change their minds. They completely disregard anyone who tries to explain to them how what they are doing impacts other people. It is hard to have a give-and-take conversation with people who cannot be persuaded that what is most convenient and fun for them actually might be harmful to someone else.

    This of course is not really about dogs. Dogs are wonderful. Dogs also do not have any role in the decision-making process regarding where they will be running off-leash. The person with the dog is always responsible, dogs just do as dogs will do.

    So my advice is to call the police on the non-emergency dispatch number if you aren’t getting the respect you deserve from a dog owner when you or your kids want to use Precita Park. The police will respond if they are not busy with something more important at that moment. A scofflaw is more likely to respond to a police officer than to you.

    Finally, Preicta Park is not big enough under city law to be divided into on and off-leash areas with a fence. This law is not likely to change. That’s an FYI for anyone who likes the idea of fencing up Preicta Park.

  41. I find it strange and disturbing that there is an argument as to whether or not one is required to obey the San Francisco’s leash law. Now, not only do I see dogs off leash at Holly Park, but also on the sidewalks. Can I now decide for myself if I want to obey laws or not–say stopping at a stop sign, yielding for pedestrians, speeding? Violation of the vehicle code doesn’t ALWAYS result in injury or property damage, so why can’t I just obey traffic laws at my own discretion?

    The law is there for a reason, as this poor newcomer has discovered through her misfortune. There is a leash-free park at the top of the hill–Bernal Hill. The City has ceded this space for the dogs. It is a short walk for anyone who is intent on giving his/her dog a good workout. All of you free-range advocates who love your pet might want to demonstrate your fitness to care for it and consider taking your lazy @sses up to the hill where it can have a free run of acres of open space. Or, is that you are just too busy and can’t spare the ten extra minutes it would take? The walk might even be good for your own health. You can yap loudly on your cell phone up on the hill while your dog does whatever it needs to do without breaking any laws up there.

    The sense of entitlement of dog owners is appalling to me. If you don’t like the law, don’t think it applies to you, sorry, that’s the way it works–or used to. Go out and buy yourself a few acres outside of Modesto if you must have an off leash dog and can’t walk up that paved road to to the top of the hill. There are more rules in the city because there are more people, less space that has to be shared. Show some respect for the rest of us by obeying the law.

  42. Elizabeth, I’ve not posted before but had to post after reading about what happened to your beagle. I am so sorry that this has been your introduction to Bernal! I own a dog who was also attacked when he was a puppy. Same as you, mine was on-leash and the attacking grey/white pitbull was off-leash. It would be really helpful if you could describe the dog who attacked your beagle and its owner? That info would be useful for other dog owners and parents with kids who frequent Precita- at the least, it means folks can choose to stay away if they see the same dog coming. I hope your beagle makes a full recovery!

  43. Hi all — thanks for all of your good thoughts. Our beagle is starting to show signs of her regular self and personality, which is a huge relief. We still have quite a while ahead of us before things are back to “normal,” for her, but the good news is that it looks like she is going to be okay.

    I do not want to start a witch hunt, but the dog was white, medium size, 50 (ish) pounds — a little bit taller, but similar size to our (oversized 🙂 ) beagle. It was dark and happened in a flash, so unfortunately we do not have much else of a description. There was another dog with it (did not participate in the attack), which was black. Breed of both dogs was unclear. The police came by yesterday to file a report and told us that the dog that attacked our beagle would need to be put on an in-home quarantine for 10 days while next steps were determined. Thankfully the police do have the contact info of the dog’s owner.

    • Thanks for the info. I will let other dog owners know. There is another dog, an all black pitbull mix named Destiny, who goes to Precita park and has attacked dogs there in the past. If you’d like more info for future reference, email my gmail account at ejystar100. I can also provide info on what I did to rehabilitate my puppy – not so much the physical injuries but the psychological trauma.

    • Elizabeth, thank you for the update. I’m sorry I’ve not said so before, but what happened to your beagle is truly tragic. It sounds like she’ll bounce back, with a lot of TLC from you & your husband.

      I hope you find the process & outcome of the aggressive dog hearing satisfactory. Tempers will run hot, but you just have to do your best to calmly see the process through.

      And, of course, welcome to Bernal.

    • Right, so “psychologically uncomfortable” would then mean discomfort “of, affecting, or arising in the mind; related to the mental and emotional state of a person.” *softball pitch for a homerun*

      Eek. If you are going to be a vocabulary scold, try to be right.

      • Is it being a grammar scold to point out that I honestly don’t know what you are trying to say?

        My point was that dogs don’t have psychological discomfort because the don’t have psyches. Content of sentence, not its vocabulary.


      • Do you know this one?

        Pedant (n): a person who adheres rigidly to book knowledge without regard to common sense.

      • Nice to meet you also.

        I was trying to ask a question/make a point as neutrally as possible. Is this better: Do you think psychological concepts apply to your dog?

        If it’s the question itself that’s bothering you, you can always just ignore it.

        Or you can give me some more adjectives for my sign-off…

        –Your cognitively dissonant, pedantic neighbor


  44. Welcome to the neighborhood, Elizabeth! If you had also asked the neighbors what they think of parking, the Safeway, and gentrification, we could have had even more people responding!

    I do appreciate that homeless people could make a little off recycling, but the trucks emptying recycling bins late at night are not owned by homeless people. Recology should use some kind of locking device.

    Re: dogs in Precita Park. I’m sorry to hear about your beagle. I think that limited off leash use of Precita Park– early mornings and evenings only, on the west side of the park, away from the kids’ cage– would be a safe use of the park, and that is when the most off-leash use happens.

    There is no chance our dog would bite any person or animal, and we keep him under voice control on the occasional evening that we take him to visit our neighbors’ dogs in Precita Park. There are no other people in the park at these times– perhaps establishing limited off leash hours, let’s say 6-9am and 5-8pm, only on the west side of the park, would encourage dog owners to utilize the park when and where there are no other users. Bernal Hill is not a great alternative after dark.

    • Re: ‘I think that limited off leash use of Precita Park– early mornings and evenings only, on the west side of the park, away from the kids’ cage– would be a safe use of the park, and that is when the most off-leash use happens.’
      Are you kidding??? Dogs are off-leash in Precita Park CONSTANTLY. I’m about to pick my kids up from Flynn right now and I’ll be surprised if there aren’t 5 to 10 dogs off leash. And since the ‘kids’ cage’ you affectionately refer to is closed for the next few weeks, the kids now get to play in the field of $#!t. Oh joy!

  45. Welcome to the “BH” Elizabeth! We also should ask, “is right to park your rear/back bumper of your vehicle in your neighbors drive way, so they can not access their garage”…lol?! 😉

  46. Pingback: Bernal Neighbors Co-Found High-Tech Veterinary House Call Startup | Bernalwood

  47. My little kid and I don’t really mind off-leash dogs as long as they don’t bite us, but for god’s sake, people, please pick up after your animals. Taking off their leashes so you can be conveniently ignorant of when/where they do their business is not OK.

  48. the top of Bernal hill is off leash and you can get further away from the road up on top. We have dogs we let off lease up their but not at Precita because of the proximity to the streets. It is not ok to have your dog off lease if it poses a threat to any person or animal; and yes every owner should pick up their dog’s feces as well as any others you see to help keep the park clean for everyone. There used to be someone who organized a poop and trash pick a couple times a year.

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