Leptospirosis has been linked to dead seals, but now it’s in the parks too!

Biologist Therapy for DogsPosted by the San Francisco Dog Walker

Five documented cases of Leptospirosis in the past two months!  Don’t let your pets near muddy puddles in the parks or dead seals on the beaches!  Leptospirosis is rarely seen in San Francisco’s dog population, but this year, it’s rampant.

This potentially fatal bacteria is spread through the urine of infected animals, particularly wildlife like raccoons, skunks and coyotes.  If excreted in standing water, it can live for weeks if not months, infecting dogs and other animals tramping through or drinking from puddles.  This year’s marked increase in leptospirosis cases is likely due to the mud and puddles left by the rains.

When the disease is caught in time, most studies show a 75 percent survival rate. Unfortunately, the initial symptoms can be hard to recognize. Symptoms are often non-specific and variable, and can include lethargy, decreased appetite, increased drinking and/or urination, vomiting or diarrhea.

Leptospirosis is preventable: the canine DHLPP vaccine protects against the bacteria, as well as against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza. Though the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it is a dog’s best defense.

If your dog seems to be under the weather, “it is important to bring up to your veterinarian that your dog is out at the park or swims a lot, as these lifestyle components increase exposure to leptospirosis.

The DHLPP vaccination is available at any veterinary office.

UPDATE: Good News! Indefinite delay GGNRA dog management plan!

Posted by the San Francisco Dog Walker

The the latest update on the dog management plan for Golden Gate National Recreation Area is good news!  It is on hold!  The National Park Service released a statement saying it will delay any decision on when to implement the plan.

IMG_0274The statement comes as the federal agency reviews emails being produced in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from dog owners who don’t want to lose access to trails and beaches where they now can let their pets run free. The request dates back to 2015, but plan opponents filed suit in April to speed up the pace of release.

“I think they’ve finally taken a concerted look at what has surfaced,” said Chris Carr, a partner at the law firm Morrison & Foerster, which is representing dog owner groups opposed to the plan. “My view is that the process has been fatally tainted by the bad-faith conduct of the GGNRA and its staff.”

Emails haven’t been released because park service employees claim to have forgotten passwords to systems where older ones are stored.  The emails released so far include sarcastic comments by employees about opponents of the tightened restrictions.

The park service statement that “we are putting on hold … the publication of the Final Rule on Dog Management” also follows letters asking for a delay on final action from three Bay Area congressional members.

WoofieLeaks Reveals Bias in GGNRA Dog Plan

Posted by the San Francisco Dog Walker

San Francisco Bay Area dog groups are suing the government over their plan to eliminate dog walking in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area – GGNRA.  They have launched WoofieLeaks an online website where information exposes a biased federal process which shows contempt for those who dared to stand in the way.

tough times for San Francisco dog walkers in the GGNRA

Tough times for San Francisco Dog Walkers in the GGNRA.

Many of the documents on WoofieLeaks.com raise serious questions regarding a fair planning process. The emails and internal documents were obtained as part of a federal lawsuit for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request.

Morrison & Foerster says these emails and documents are just the tip of the iceberg, pointing out the agency may be withholding a stockpile of emails. For instance, Howard Levitt, the GGNRA’s former Director of Communications and Partnerships, can’t “recall” his password to an email system prior to 2013 and so, the agency claims, those emails are inaccessible. Both Levitt and former Superintendent Frank Dean were also caught using their private email accounts to discuss the dog planning process, according to recently obtained records.