Category Archives: Other Dog Parks

Right Idea. Right Place. Council Agrees. But, there’s a little more work to do.

At the meeting this past Tuesday, a majority of the City Council voted 4-3 to support this dog park. But, for a resolution to be passed, we need 5 votes. Council Member Jane Brunner was absent, and this matter has been continued on to the Tues., Dec. 18th meeting. Plan to attend if you can. In the event that Councilmember Brunner votes against us, Mayor Jean Quan has the option to be the tie-breaking vote.

artist rendering Lakeview Park

Artist rendering of how this park would look with the addition of a dog park

Here is how to Council voted in support of the dog park:

YES: De la Fuente, Schaaf, Nadel, Kaplan
NO: Brooks, Reid, Kernighan

Please take a moment to do the following:

  • Email both Jane Brunner and Mayor Jean Quan (and us):;;
  • Come to the meeting on Tuesday, December 18th at 6:30 pm at City Hall. Although technically public comments can still be heard, both parties (ODOG and Save Astro Park) have agreed that this evening should be about the vote. So while we invite everyone to attend and listen, neither party is encouraging speakers as we all want this evening to be as short as possible. If you have further questions about this, please do not hesitate to email us.

In your email to Council member Brunner, remember to be polite, and ask both Councilmember Brunner and Mayor Quan to join the majority of City Council and support this dog park. Some talking points for your letters:

  • It’s in the Lake Merritt Master Plan (approved by City Council in 2002), Adams Point Plan, it was approved by the Park & Rec Advisory Committee (PRAC) in 2010, and the Planning Commission Staff recommended that it be approved in 2012. (The Planning Commission itself denied this proposal – 3 voted against, 1 abstained, 3 were absent).
  • ODOG volunteers are out every month at lake cleanups for the past 2 years. Other dog parks across town are so well-maintained that we’ve received letters of praise from other park user groups and Oakland Public Works. Mostly private funds will be used to build and maintain this park, and the Memorandum of Understanding with the city lays out sanctions if standards are not met.
  • Oakland has two existing dog parks that are closer to tot lots than this one will be (Hardy Park and Jefferson); they’ve been there for years without any significant amount of incidents.
  • San Francisco has nine dog parks adjacent to kids play areas (Duboce, Dolores, Haas, St. Mary’s, Eureka Valley, Upper Noe, Potrero Hill, Alamo Square, Alta Plaza) and according to SF Park & Rec, a “non-existent rate of incidents.”
  • There are at least 13 other spots within a mile and a half to play sports (see map), several tot lots, and almost nothing for people with dogs. The Piedmont dog park is at least 2 miles away, one way, and Oaklanders have to pay to use it.
  • Dog parks make great neighborhood meeting places, and they build community.
  • At least 47% of households in Oakland have dogs as part of their families; and there are more dogs in Oakland than there are children.

Popular Tourist Destinations and their Dog-Friendliness

The Ile Saint-Louis in Paris

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Last Thursday’s post on dogs at the Eiffel Tower generated a lot of buzz – boy did we get letters! Ironically, it was Bastille Day: the French celebration of liberté, fraternité, et égalité. We got a lot of letters about how the French regard their dogs.

As we noted, Paris welcomes dogs to its most exclusive of parks, including the Tuileries and the Palais Royale. But, did you know many restaurants and cafes also welcome dogs? Eponymous luxury ice cream parlor Berthillon on the ile Saint-Louis allows you to bring your dog with you into its dining room. It’s been this way in Paris for decades, and none of the dire consequences we’ve heard predicted by the anti-dog park folks here have happened. Paris is not devoid of businesses, its parks aren’t ugly, children aren’t being attacked by loose dogs. In fact, France consistently ranks at the Number 1 global tourist destination, with 76.8 million tourist visits in 2010.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the Number 3 city destination in the world is San Francisco. Our neighbor across the bay has three times the number of dog parks than we do, and an increasing number of cafés and bars are catering to their growing locals and visitors that own dogs. Also on the top 10 list of U.S. destinations is Carmel, which is also listed as one of the most dog-friendly locations. Long-time Carmel resident and animal welfare activist Doris Day started Carmel’s dog-friendly trend more than 30 years ago. And, by all accounts, business in Carmel is booming.

Now, let’s look at Oakland. Sadly, despite our scenic beauty and an abundance of activities, we didn’t make any top destination lists. We made some other lists. In contrast to San Francisco and Carmel, Oakland is one of the most hostile cities to dogs in the United States. Almost all of our parks are completely off-limits to dogs – even on leash! We have 5 dog parks, tucked away in mostly isolated areas or under freeway overpasses, because that’s all that the city will give us. San Francisco is smaller in area than Oakland, but they have more than 3 times the dog parks. And, they’re not tucked away in some crummy space. Beautiful Dolores Park, for instance has a dog play space. Dolores Park is surrounded on three sides by busy streets, and one side by MUNI train tracks. Mission High School is right across the street, and there’s a children’s play area right next to the dog play area.

Dolores Park in San Francisco

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Dog Parks in Paris? Mais Oui!

One of the funnier things we heard at Wednesday night’s Park and Rec meeting, was “Save Astro Park” anti-dog park activist Jerry Wolfe comparing Lakeview Park to the Eiffel Tower. “Did they,” he bellowed, wagging his finger at the commissioners, “put a dog park at the Eiffel Tower!?” zut alors, they did! Champ de Mars, the park at the Eiffel Tower is available to off-leash dogs. So, too is the Jardins des Tuileries next to the Louvre. The exquisite gardens next to the French Senate building (the Jardins du Luxembourg) also dog-friendly. Parisians love their dogs and the French capital is amazingly welcoming to them and their owners.

In Tuesday’s San Francisco Chronicle, “Save Astro Park” member Sue Levin was quoted as saying, “would you put a dog run at the entrance to Golden Gate Park or Central Park? No.” Sue should have done just a wee bit more research. Golden Gate Park has four designated dog areas (including as you first enter the park from the Haight at Stanyan Street). There are 17 spots across San Francisco. Central Park has 23, and Manhattan has dozens more.

Indeed, just about every major city in North America has a “signature” park – and almost all of them include space for dogs. Even America’s first public park, Boston Common, has a dog park. Boston Common is often described as the “beating heart of Boston,” and is less than one-third the size of the parkland available at Lake Merritt.

Other famous world signature parks with space for dogs: Grant Park in Chicago, Stanley Park in Vancouver, Hyde Park in London, Berlin’s Tiergarten, Griffith Park in Los Angeles, and Balboa Park in San Diego. So, this notion that world-class cities would never have dogs near their special parks or “front yards” is not supported by the facts.

>  For more debunked myths, check out our Truth About “Astro Park” page.

>  See what your neighbors are saying at our new Community Voices page.