San Francisco dog owners are not going to take the new dog management regulations for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area lying down.
After filing a lawsuit against the National Park Service for failing to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests, the documents they were granted access to due to the lawsuit have been released on a site called WoofieLeaks. The group believes these documents show bias about the new dog management rules in the GGNRA, along with destruction of records and omission of date.
“We’ve found documents that show that their process was really not fair, they were really biased against people who supported dog walking,” said Andrea Buffa, a member of the dog owner advocacy group Save Our Recreation, told SFGate.
According to Buffa, the documents on WoofieLeaks.com, allegedly show the park service officials forming a relationship with environmental groups to push forward on decreasing the number of dog-friendly spots in GGNRA.
There is also an email exchange on WoofieLeaks about the dog community that says, “Everyone: Please delete this and the previous message. These conversations are best done by phone.” (Government agencies, including the National Park Service, need to legally keep all records.)
Dog advocacy groups have been in a battle with the National Park Service’s GGNRA for years over dog-friendly areas in the 80,000-acre area. And on Dec. 8 of last year, it all came to a head when GGNRA released its new dog management guidelines for the park.
The new rules reduced the number of off-leash areas to six spots, with GGNRA officials stating this will allow dog owners to enjoy the area, but also protect habitats from being trampled by pooches. Before these new guidelines were created, dog advocacy groups were trying to get more information from the park service, but according to them, to no avail. So, they filed a lawsuit back in April, according to SFGate, accusing the park service of “slow walking” its answers to inquiries for data made by the group. They believe the park service will release the information after public comment and that the park service is looking to expedite the updated guidelines before the new administrative goes into office.
The rules will most likely be finalized on Jan. 10 and go into effect no earlier than March 1.