The legal action is the latest in an ongoing battle between dog owners and the popular national recreation area. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Dog owners sue over new pet restrictions at Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Three dog owners’ groups and a recreation association sued the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in federal court in San Francisco

Three dog owners’ groups and a recreation association sued the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in federal court in San Francisco Thursday to challenge proposed restrictions on dog walking.

The lawsuit claims that some of the rules in a document known as the 2019 Superintendent’s Compendium are “substantial and controversial changes” to the park unit’s existing pet policy, which dates back to a plan developed by a citizens’ advisory commission in 1979.

The suit asks for court orders requiring the recreation area to complete an environmental study of the proposed changes and to follow the National Park Service’s requirements for public notice and an opportunity for public comment on significant policy changes.

The plaintiffs in the case are Save Our Recreation, San Francisco Dog Owners Group, Marin County Dog Owner’s Group and Coastside Dog Owners Group of San Mateo County.

The defendants are the GGNRA, the National Park Service and the U.S. Interior Department. The GGNRA, which encompasses more than 80,000 acres of San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, is a unit of the park service, which in turn is a division of the Interior Department.

A representative of the GGNRA was not immediately available for comment.

The GGNRA’s website describes the recreation area as a “dog friendly national park” and notes that it is the only park unit in the National Park Service to designate particular areas for allowing responsible dog walking off-leash when dogs are under voice and sight control.

The lawsuit alleges that one change in the 2019 Compendium is a rule prohibiting dog walking entirely from two areas at Fort Funston where canines were previously allowed off-leash.

Another change is a requirement that dogs must wear identification tags showing their rabies vaccination status or their owners must produce official documentation of rabies vaccination status on demand, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit alleges that some of the proposed rules are attempts to revive elements of a proposed Dog Management Plan that was developed by the GGNRA between 2011 and 2016, but dropped by the National Park Service in 2017.

The same groups also filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information on the GGNRA’s development of the 2019 rules.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

School district, teachers reach tentative agreement on distance learning

With less than two weeks until the start of the school year,… Continue reading

Boudin, Gascon defend NFL in controversy over Stephon Clark video

Public service announcement prompted pushback from California prosecutors association

Retired officers seek end to decade-old age discrimination case

Retired officer Juanita Stockwell was 60 when she and her colleagues first… Continue reading

San Francisco schools estimate $25m needed to close digital divide

Private donations being sought to fund internet access, technology

State officials sue Uber and Lyft for wage theft

California Labor Commissioner’s Office alleges ride-hail companies violating AB5

Most Read