Federal regulators target doggie doo in San Francisco park

The Presidio Trust, which overseas the area, is proposing to require commercial dog walkers with four or more dogs to carry permits and satisfy several other requirements if they want to bring the animals into a portion of the grounds known as Area B.

The public has until Feb. 25 to comment on the proposed restrictions, according to a notice to be published in Wednesday’s Federal Register.

San Francisco, according to a notice that spanned four Register pages when the rule was first proposed last November, is home to some 110,000 households that own dogs. As many as a third of them employ dog walkers, according to city estimates. Many of those use the park.

“By both direct observation and through reports from the public, the Trust is aware that dogs brought into the Presidio in these numbers have been responsible for damage to resources, threats to public safety, and visitor conflict,” according to the November notice.

Recently San Francisco city officials approved an ordinance requiring commercial dog walkers to be trained or meet minimum experience requirements, have no animal cruelty convictions in the last five years, carry sufficient drinking water for the dogs and, among other things, carry $1 million in general liability insurance.

The Trust, fearing that the city’s permitting requirements would drive dog walkers into the relative international waters of the federally-managed Presidio, decided it was best to adopt the same restrictions.

While they’re at it, officials at the agency are seeking strengthened rules requiring people to pick up after the animals. Currently, that is only required in specified areas within the Presidio.

“The Trust is also proposing that throughout Area B, all pet walkers, whether or not (commercial dog walkers), shall remove pet excrement and deposit it in refuse containers,” Wednesday’s notice says.