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Supervisors oppose national park dog restrictions

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The National Park Service last week announced new rules for where dogs can be walked in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and closed parts of Fort Funston to all visitors. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/2011 AP)

Canine lovers across San Francisco are barking in protest of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s proposed new dog restrictions.

Now the newest group to back the puppy-loving side of the argument are members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

The five supervisors against the proposed regulations — Katy Tang, Scott Wiener, Norman Yee, London Breed and David Campos — plan to announce their opposition Tuesday at noon on the steps of City Hall.

The board has no authority over the GGNRA, but the resolution would send a strong message from San Francisco politicians.

The new rules could limit dog access at Crissy Field, Ocean Beach, Fort Funston, Lands End, the Marin Headlands and other GGNRA parks.

The GGNRA has said the rules were proposed to clear the way for visitors who felt the dogs infringed on their experience, as well as for preserving the parks from damage.

The rules are now only a proposal and were released Feb. 24 for a 60-day public comment period.

The Wild Equity Institute is among the groups in favor of the new off-leash rules, because they say the number of dogs around today — which reportedly outnumbers kids in San Francisco — harms the environment.

“This has led to increasing numbers of negative impacts in the park: dogs are being lost, injured, and killed; people and horses are being bitten and attacked; endangered wildlife are put at risk; and it has even impacted the diversity of the GGNRA’s users,” the institute wrote on its website. “The GGNRA’s ad hoc off-leash policy is no longer tenable.”

The GGNRA is now taking public comment on the proposed rules to restrict dogs in parks, which can be filed online.

Many of the comments support the new rules, and many are opposed.

One anonymous commenter wrote, “There are already areas for those people who want to have a dog free experience, as we all have rights. Please give us dog owners the opportunity to continue enjoying our freedoms too.”

To learn more about the proposed rule, visit www.regulations.gov and use the search term 1024-AE16.