From: Kim Curtis, Associated Press
Published January 12, 2005 12:00 AM

San Francisco Officials Pass Law Mandating Humane Treatment for Backyard Dogs

SAN FRANCISCO — In this famously dog-friendly city, dog owners are "pet guardians," the local shelter keeps strays in "apartments" -- and, as of Tuesday, man's best friend is entitled to certain perks.

A new "backyard dog" law says canines are entitled to a change of water once a day, palatable and nutritious food in a non-tipping bowl, and a dog house with a top, bottom and three sides. Tying up the dog is highly discouraged.

The law, passed by the Board of Supervisors, was modeled after a similar one in Los Angeles, and is aimed at owners who keep their dogs outside, according to a spokeswoman for Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who sponsored the legislation at the request of the Commission of Animal Control and Welfare.

"What it really does is tell these owners what the minimum requirements are if they're going to keep their dog outside," said Carl Friedman, director of Animal Care and Control.

He dismissed complaints that the effort is frivolous. "I say, 'Look at some of these abandoned and mistreated animals I deal with and you'll feel differently,'" he said.


Friedman said Animal Control officers routinely see dogs chained to a fence with no protection from rain and wind, rodents in their food bowls and tipped-over, empty water bowls. Dogs are often sick, malnourished, wet and cold.

Of the estimated 100,000 dogs in San Francisco, about 100 are in custody at Animal Care and Control at any given time, Friedman said. About 800 dogs are euthanized each year because of severe medical and behavioral problems.

Source: Associated Press

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