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Tag: policy

Supes say let dogs run in Golden Gate park

Let’s hear it for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

By a 10 to 1 vote, supervisors went on record opposing a federal proposal to restrict dogs in parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The National Park Service earlier this year proposed to “completely or significantly reduce” the off-leash areas in the recreation area to “strike a balance between park landscape, native wildlife and the 16 million visitors.”

The park service is considering mandating leashes in open spaces where dogs currently roam free and banning them entirely in some popular dog-walking areas.

Dog lovers responded to the proposal swiftly, labeling it “extreme environmentalism,” and even considered suing the federal government if the proposal passed, according to the website Curbed.

In early April, Supervisor Scott Weiner introduced a resolution in opposition to the proposed dog policies. This week, all but one of the supervisors voted for it — in part out of concern that restricting dogs on the federal park land could overburden city parks.

The National Park Service has proposed restricting dogs from San Francisco’s Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston, which are among the most popular places to take dogs in the city.

Federal officials are still taking public comment on the plan and expect to put new rules in place next year.

NC college starts pet-friendly dorm

Lees-McRae College, located in the mountains of North Carolina, has designated its first pet-friendly dormitory, allowing students who live there to bring along their dogs, cats, birds, fish, ferrets, and hamsters.

With the opening of the Spring 2011 semester, Bentley Residence Hall went co-species. 

“I am so excited that Lees-McRae College has joined the ranks of pet friendly colleges and universities.  We love our pets and we recognize that students who are pet owners are generally responsible and caring individuals,” said Barry M. Buxton, president of the Presbyterian college. “We want to encourage pet adoption and awareness that all of God’s creatures are sacred.”

Students living in Bentley Hall are now allowed to bring their pets from home to school with them to live in their rooms. Under the new policy, qualifying students can have fish, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, ferrets, cats and dogs under 40 pounds. (We’d argue dogs over 40 pounds are sacred, too.)

Previously, students were only allowed to have fish in residence hall rooms.

Under the new pet friendly policy, faculty and staff are also encouraged to bring their pets to campus.

“It is great to be able to have my two dogs for companionship while I am studying and doing homework in my room,” said student Lauren Lampley, owner of Shih Tzus Heidi and Buckley. “This responsibility also forces me to manage my time well enough to take care of them and make sure I make time to spend with them.”

The approved pets for the inaugural pet friendly program include a Boston Terrier, a small Labrador retriever, two Shih Tzus, a pomeranian/Chihuahua mix, a miniature dachshund, a Maine coon mix, a Siamese mix, a leopard gecko, a Dutch rabbit, two ferrets and two birds.

The new policy represents the latest in a trend toward colleges welcoming pets, noted Joshua Fried, director of Petside.com: “We know how much the companionship of a pet can benefit a college student, particularly in the form of stress-relief and as a remedy for homesickness.”

“Now I have two alarms,” one student joked. “When I ignore my alarm clock, my dog licks my face and my nose until I get up. She really cares about my education.”

Lees-McRae College, a four-year, co-educational liberal arts college, is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina in the town of Banner Elk.

(Photo courtesy of Lees-McCrae College)

Kinda kamping: Things were AOK at KOA

Seeking shelter in Saugerties, Ace and I opted for a KOA campground, just down the road from my grandparent’s old house.

This time though, rather than pitch the tent, we upgraded to a “Kozy Kabin,” which, while it didn’t require kopious amounts of kash, was priced slightly over our limit at $50-plus a night, plus a dog fee.

But it was pretty much perfect for our needs — those being something close to warmth, something soft to sleep on and a place for Ace to romp.

We opted for a one-room cabin and were assigned to K-8, which was right next door to K-9. The cabins don’t have plumbing, but they do have electricity, allowing me to recharge all the various devices I’m toting. The bathroom and showers were just 50 yards down a path. And we directly across from the fenced in dog park, which, while not huge, was filled with agility equipment.

And best of all we had not just a grill, but a fire pit, and a picnic table and a front porch swing — sturdy enough to hold us both.

Ace immediately chose the lower bunk, though he spent some time on the big bed too.

The Saugerties Woodstock KOA was highly pet friendly; and its owners have two dogs of their own — a bulldog and a lab mix — who live there with them.

When they took over the campground, six years ago, only one cabin was open to dogs, but they’ve since changed the rules and now allow dogs in all of them. Squirrels and humans, they noted, have been responsible for much more damage than dogs have.

KOA’s pet policy permits dogs at all campgrounds, but not all of them allow dogs in the cabins.

KOA’s website advises that guests “check with the campground about its specific pet policies. Some don’t allow pets in Kamping Kabins, for example, or may have limited pet units. Others don’t accept particular breeds that insurance providers have identified as having a history of aggression.”

Upon arriving, I unpacked my camping gear and set up housekeeping, pulling out my remaining foodstuff to see what might be for dinner.

I opted for a can of green beans, combined with can of mushroom soup, topped with crumbled up crackers.

On night two, I cracked open my can of Spam, which made Ace perk up and led to a visit from the dog next door, named Micro, who was staying with his owner in a restored 1960 Airstream trailer.

The owner, an artist named Tim, gave me a tour of his house on wheels, which he rebuilt himself.

Some KOA campgrounds are now offering guests the option to spend the night in Airstreams. The shiny silver trailers are being rented overnight at KOA’s in Santa Cruz, California; Bar Harbor, Maine; Key West, Florida; and Las Vegas.

We might have to give one a try.

Our cabin served us well, though, its space heater keeping us cozy at night. We built lots of campfires, made lots of coffee and made full use of the porch swing.

When the time came to move on, I decided that, rather than putting my sleeping bag and pillows back on rooftop carrier, I’d use them instead to cushion Ace’s ride a little more. He seemed to appreciate the fluffier ride, and it spared me the hassle of getting things out of and back into the rooftop carrier.

Even after buying a new carrier, I’ve noticed its contents are still getting wet. And that’s the last thing we want — now that we’re in a kolder klimate.

Hooray for Hollywood (Florida, that is)

 

City officials in Hollywood (the one in Florida) are considering overturning a ban on dogs along the city’s oceanside Broadwalk (that’s not a typo, that’s what they call it).

Under a proposal from Commissioner Patty Asseff, dogs could be allowed to walk on the two-mile-long promenade — and even eat in beachside cafes.

What’s behind the possible change in policy? Clue: It starts with M and ends with Y. Some city officials see it as a way to bring more business to the shops and restaurants by the sea, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

Three years ago, the city experimented with allowing dogs on the beach between Pershing and Custer streets during certain hours for a few hours a day. The experiment was such a success that it became permanent. As for the Broadwalk, though, dogs — unlike bicycles, roller skaters and rollerbladers — are banned.

Asseff announced her Broadwalk proposal at a town hall meeting last month as a way to compete with other cities that already allow dogs on the beach and to dine at beachside restaurants. The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at the April 21st city commission meeting.

Don’t hit the Broadwalk just yet, though. A $50 fine for strolling down the promenade with your dog is still in effect.

Officer who left 2 dogs to die in car is fined

A police dog handler in the UK has been found guilty of animal cruelty for leaving two German shepherds to die in the back of his car on one of the hottest days of last year.

Mark Johnson, of the Nottinghamshire police, was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine. The judge called it “an extremely difficult case” which reflected poorly on the force’s attitude to officers with mental health problems.

Prosecutors said the animals – Jay-Jay and Jet – died in “excruciating pain” after Johnson ­forgot he had not taken them out of his vehicle on June 30. The dogs died – possibly within 20 minutes of being left in the car– from heatstroke, The Guardian reported

Johnson, 39, said he was severely depressed and was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder when he left the dogs in the car. He said his illness had caused him to forget that the animals were still in the car as he sat down to do paperwork at Nottinghamshire police’s headquarters.

District judge Tim Devas described the dogs’ deaths as “sad and regrettable”, but criticized the police department for failing to help an officer struggling with depression.

“I feel a police officer has been let down … (T)his is a dreadful error of judgment brought about by an illness way before it happened and PC Johnson should have been given more help … I cannot believe that in the 21st century, depression and men crying is so abhorrent to an institution that nothing can be done about it,” he said.

An assistant chief constable of the Nottinghamshire police said dog handlers must now take their animals directly to kennels on arrival at work and that a system was being piloted alerting handlers to temperature changes inside vehicles.

No more dogs in Ann Arbor bookstore

The Borders bookstore in downtown Ann Arbor is dog-friendly no more.

After years of allowing dogs, the bookstore has decided to enforce the chain’s company-wide policy prohibiting pets from entering.

“We prioritize the safety and happiness of our customers,” Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis said. “We think that it’s important to put this particular store in line with our other stores, which currently only allow service dogs.”

AnnArbor.com reports that the store’s general manager said she had “received a number of complaints about the dogs, some of which she described as ‘nasty,’” (meaning the complaints, I’m pretty sure, and not the dogs).

Borders declined to specify the nature of the complaints. At least one was made to county health authorities, who pointed out the store, since it houses a coffee shop, is licensed as a food service establishment.

Some patrons expressed sadness about the new no-dog policy.

“My dog has never fought with another dog or eaten a book or a person,” said Marcia Polenberg, who was standing outside the store with her dog, Caravaggio. “I don’t know that this is a good policy. I will be much less inclined to shop here.”

Iditadrug: Of Mackey, mushing and marijuana

mackeyThree-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey may have to mush without marijuana in next year’s race.

Iditarod Trail Committee officials have announced plans to test mushers for drugs and alcohol in March. Officials haven’t decided who will get tested, or when, where and how it will be done. “It might be random. It might be a group of mushers at a specific checkpoint,” said Stan Hooley, executive director of the committee.

Alaska law allows for personal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, provided the use occurs at home. In addition, Mackey, as a throat cancer survivor, has a medical marijuana card that entitles him to use the drug legally for medical purposes.

Mackey admits marijuana has helped him stay awake and focused through the 1,100-mile race, but he insists it doesn’t give him an edge.

“It isn’t the reason I’ve won three years in a row,” Mackey told the Anchorage Daily News. ”I think it’s a little bit ridiculous,” he said of the new policy. ”It is a dog race, not a human race. It doesn’t affect the outcome of the race.”

While Iditarod dogs have long been tested for a lengthy list of prohibited substances, the humans they are pulling — despite the Iditarod having had an informal drug and alcohol policy since 1984 — never have.

Mackey doesn’t blame the Iditarod board for creating the new policy, but he contends he is being targeted by other mushers jealous of his three straight Iditarod titles.

Despite his medical marijuana clearance, Mackey said he will not pursue a therapeutic use exemption; instead, he’ll just abstain for a while.

“I’m going to pee in their little cup,” he said. “And laugh in their face.”

India to free zoo and circus elephants

elephantsAll elephants living in Indian zoos and circuses will be moved to wildlife parks and game sanctuaries where the animals can graze more freely, officials at Indian’s Central Zoo Authority announced earlier this month.

The order followed complaints and pressure from animal rights activists about elephants that are kept in captivity, often chained for long hours and unable to roam.

The elephants are to be moved to “elephant camps” run by the government’s forest department and located near protected areas and national parks. There they would be able to roam and graze freely, but “mahouts,” or traditional elephant trainers, would still keep an eye on them, according to an Associated Press report.

The decision affects around 140 elephants in 26 zoos and 16 circuses in the country. It does not affect the 3,500 elephants that live in captivity in temples, or logging camps where they are used to lift timber.

Research has shown that elephants in the wild live longer and have better health and reproductive records than those in captivity. Zoo elephants often die prematurely and contract diseases or suffer obesity and arthritis more frequently than in their natural habitats.

India has an estimated 28,000 wild elephants living in forest reserves and national parks, mainly in the southern and northeastern parts of the country.

State parks may become dog-friendlier

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State parks would become more dog-friendly under a series of proposed policy changes being considered by the Maryland Park Service.

The proposals are now open to public comment, which you can do by clicking here.

To see the full list of changes, park by park, click here.

Under the proposed changes, dogs will be allowed on some of the trails, picnic areas, campgrounds and day use areas from which they were previously banned.

At Gunpowder Falls, for instance, the proposals call for pets being allowed year-round in Dogwood section of the Hammerman area, and in the entire Hammerman area from October 1 to April 30.

“The proposed pet policy changes were developed with consideration for the opinions and perspectives of park staff and visitors who have contacted us about this specific issue over the years,” the Park Service said. “We also reviewed pet policies employed by similar parks and recreational facilities in Maryland and in other states.

“As part of the overall policy, park managers will retain the discretion to prohibit pets from certain facilities within areas where pets are allowed (e.g. visitor centers, playgrounds). Service animals will still be allowed in all areas open to their owners. Current regulations requiring that all pets be leashed and owners clean up after their pets will remain in effect.”

The state is also accepting snail-mailed comments. Send them to:

Pet Policy Comments
Maryland Park Service
580 Taylor Ave., E-3
Annapolis, MD 21401

Public comments will be accepted until November 30, 2009.

Something for big dogs to celebrate

Weight limits — those arbitrary, ill-conceived, downright discriminatory restrictions on dogs at many otherwise “pet-friendly” hotels — have bitten the dust at one California boutique hotel chain.

Joie de Vivre, California’s largest boutique hotel collection, has done away with its weight limit for canine guests, according to Hotels magazine. It has also dropped its pet surcharge.

Joie de Vivre has  doubled the number of its hotels that allow pets in the past eight months. Of its 35 hotels, 15 are now dog-friendly.

“We wanted to make our pet-friendly hotels even more hospitable to dogs, so we scrapped weight restrictions and standard pet surcharges so that more of our guests can enjoy traveling with their pets,”  said Joie de Vivre founder and CEO Chip Conley.

In the Bay Area, the chain (it prefers the term “collection”) offers more dog-friendly hotels than any other hotel group, with ten in San Francisco, three in the East Bay and Marin County and one in Silicon Valley. In Southern California, the new Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach and Hotel Maya in Long Beach welcome dogs and their owners. A third boutique hotel in Southern California – the Pacific Edge Hotel on Laguna Beach – will join Joie de Vivre’s pet-friendly pack this fall.

Joie de Vivre’s pet-friendly hotels offer special amenities that include in-room dog beds, dog food, water bowls, toys, and even a doggie turndown service. Each hotel offers different amenities and some offer fee-based grooming or dog walking upon request.

For more information, visit www.jdvhotels.com.

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