Author Archives: lakeviewdogs

It’s Official: Dog Law Passes!

shutterstock_138940370Last night, Oakland City Council unanimously approved a change to city law regarding dogs in our parks. The new law, effective immediately, allows for people to bring their dogs into a number of parks. Those awful “No Dogs in Parks” signs are going to start coming down soon! Our heartfelt thanks go out to Mayor Jean Quan, and Park & Rec Director Audree Jones-Taylor for their tireless efforts to get this change codified into law.

SAVE THE DATE: We will be hosting a celebration with the Mayor on Saturday, April 19th, from 2 pm – 4 pm, at Estuary Park.

At last night’s meeting, Council President Pat Kernighan cautioned that should any parks become problematic with people letting dogs off-leash in an on-leash area (particularly Lakeside Park), that City Council could revisit this new ordinance. So, please: respect the rules, clean up after your dog, spread the word, and bring extra bags for people who may have forgotten.

Here is the list of Oakland city parks that are now available to people with dogs:


  • Estuary Park – near Jack London Square.
  • South Prescott Park – fenced in park in West Oakland
  • Park Blvd. Plaza – small area near the Parkway Theater
  • King Estates Park – enormous park in East Oakland


  • Joaquin Miller Park
  • Leona Heights Park
  • Dimond Park
  • Eastshore Park
  • Knowland Park
  • Lakeside Park
  • Montclair Railroad Trail
  • Mosswood Park
  • Oak Glen Park
  • Grove-Shafter Park
  • Hardy Park
  • Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt
  • Snow Park
  • Jefferson Square Park
  • Athol Park
  • Pine Knoll Park
  • Mandana Plaza

City Council to Consider Dogs in Parks – TUESDAY 3/18

Last month, Oakland Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) unanimously approved a resolution amending the city code regarding dogs in parks. On Tuesday at 6 pm, City Council will consider making that resolution a permanent change to city law. There will almost certainly be people at this meeting who are against this proposal. So, we need dog lovers to be there! The meeting is in Council Chambers at City Hall. Parking is available a block away at Clay and 14th, and BART is one block away.

In the proposed change, certain parks will now allow dogs either on- or off-leash, effective immediately (our five fenced dog parks remain unchanged). What that means is that, in those parks those awful “no dogs” signs will start coming down! We’ve been working with Parks and Recreation for a long time, and while it’s not every park we wanted, it’s a great step in the right direction toward making Oakland dog-friendly. Thanks also go out to Mayor Jean Quan, and Park & Rec Director Audree Jones-Taylor.

Here is the list of Oakland city parks that will be available to people with dogs:


  • Estuary Park – near Jack London Square.
  • South Prescott Park – fenced in park in West Oakland
  • Park Blvd. Plaza
  • King Estates Park – enormous park in East Oakland
  • Oak Glen Park


  • Joaquin Miller Park
  • Leona Heights Park
  • Dimond Park
  • Eastshore Park
  • Knowland Park
  • Lakeside Park
  • Montclair Railroad Trail
  • Mosswood Park
  • Grove-Shafter Park
  • Hardy Park
  • Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt
  • Snow Park
  • Jefferson Square Park
  • Athol Park
  • Pine Knoll Park
  • Mandana Plaza

Santa Paws is Coming to Town Again!

Santa Paws!This year, ODOG is partnering with local pet store Canine Comforts and Brotzeit Lokal to present out Sixth Annual Santa Paws benefit! Bring your kids, and bring your pups, and get your picture taken with Santa.
Then, stay for brunch, lunch, or a beer on Brotzeit’s dog-friendly patio. Brotzeit is a new, waterfront restaurant and biergarten, and the specialize in hard-to-find beers.
We’ve got a great, professional photographer lined up. We’re suggesting a $30 donation. You’ll get to sit with Santa and your dogs and/or kids. We’ll post the photos the next day online and email everyone the link.
DATE: Saturday, Dec. 21
TIME: 11 am – 3 pm
LOCATION: Brotzeit Lokal, 1000 Embarcadero
(behind the Homewood Suites, in the old Oyster Reef location).
Brotzeit Lokal: A great waterfront biergarten that serves German food, and hard-to-find beers on tap. And, they have a dog-friendly patio!
Canine Comforts: a pet boutique at Jack London Square, with great gifts!
Chickpea Photography Studio: A well-regarded photographer, who recently did work for Oakland Animal Services
Home Away From Home small dog boarding: A great, Oakland-based dog sitting service, specializing in smaller dogs, and seniors.

Lake Merritt Dog Park Update

By Paul Vidican, ODOG Vice President

Last week, I angrily and publicly chastised Oakland Mayor Jean Quan for a lack of leadership on the Lake Merritt dog park issue. I was justifiably angry because after 13 years, thousands of hours of volunteer hours, and fundraising to create an area for dog owners who live in the densest part of Oakland—the Lake Merritt area—not one but two virtually-assured areas were abruptly made unavailable by the City. On Monday Mayor Quan,  after reading my attack on her,  graciously called me to personally discuss the issues and background information on what’s happening with finding space for people with dogs in Oakland, and what happened with the loss of Lakeview and Snow Park locations. From our conversation and her assurances, I have respect for her leadership on this issue of significant importance to such a large, diverse group of Oaklanders, and look forward to working with her. I now wish that I had spoken with her first before I wrote the letter. For that I want to apologize.



Comments Needed for Snow Park Project

Aerial Shot of Snow ParkThe Oakland Planning Department posted notice on Friday, seeking public comment on the proposed Lake Merritt area dog park at Snow Park. It’s imperative that we speak out for this project, and the need to have a safe, legal spot for people with dogs in Central Oakland. We know that most of you have written countless times — but please take 5 minutes to send an email today.

Send your email 

And, cc:

Start your letter with two important phrases:

  1. Please APPROVE the dog run at Snow Park
  2. A dog run at Snow Park adds to the livablity of the neighborhood and the city.

You can also include the following information:

  • Where you live
  • If you would walk to the dog park
  • If you would combine the visit to the dog park with other activities such a caring for kids, shopping, walk at the Lake

PRAC Votes Yes on Snow Dog Park!

At the Sept 11, 2013 Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) meeting, the Commission voted 6-1 to recommend the approval of the Minor Conditional Use Permit! It’s just the first step though in getting this park built.


snow park meeting

PRAC Meeting on Sept 11, 2013 on the Snow Park dog park

On Sept. 11th PRAC heard a motion to recommend approval of the Minor Conditional Use Permit (MCUP) to the Planning Department. Parks and Recreation staff has recommended that the proposal be approved. At the meeting, 17 speakers spoke on both sides of the issue; the majority were in favor. A handful of residents of the Regillius luxury apartments spoke against the proposal, mainly on the theory that they will be affected by noise and that a nearby dog park would negatively affect their property values.

Mayor Quan briefly attended the meeting to speak in favor of the dog park, saying that the city has “been unfair” to people with dogs, and that Snow Park was a great compromise in creating a safe and legal space for people to go with their dogs. Staff from the office of Council member Lynette Gibson McIlhenney also spoke in favor of the dog park, mentioning that the Council member was strongly in favor of the proposal, and that dog parks create community space, and are effective in deterring crime.

Commissioners asked questions about costs, and the city’s architect estimated that it would cost somewhere near $200,000 to build (in comparison, the children’s play area being built at Snow Park is estimated to cost $300,000). Most of that money would be privately raised by ODOG. Commissioners were also concerned about maintenance, and voted to include an amendment to the MCUP proposal to include a recommendation that the city enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ODOG about maintenance (ODOG has long-standing MOUs with the city for the city’s other dog parks, such as in Joaquin Miller Park.) The motion to recommend the passage of the MCUP was passed by PRAC 6-1. Commission Chair Barry Miller was the lone dissenting vote, saying he’d prefer the park to remain as-is: a largely unused lawn, and he’d rather see a dog park created similarly to the new Latham Square project, where a street was reclaimed for park use.

Next Steps

Staff from the Planning Department said that the next step was that the proposal for the MCUP would now go to the Planning Department, who would write a report. There would then be a 17 day public comment period, after which Planning would administratively make a decision. Once the decision is made, there is a ten day appeal period. If appealed, it would then go to the Planning Commission, who would be the final word. It would not go to City Council, as did the Astro Park controversy.

Snow Park Dog Play Area on Agenda for Sept. 11

Aerial Shot of Snow ParkThe proposed dog park at Snow Park (19th & Harrison) is finally on the agenda for the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) for Wednesday, September 11, 4:30 pm. According to the PRAC Staff Report, staff is recommending that the Committee accept the approval of the Minor Conditional Use Permit for this project.

The Snow Park site is the spot that Mayor Quan, along with the Parks and Recreation Department, identified as an alternative to the Lakeview Park location (Lakeshore and MacArthur), that City Council deadlocked on last December.

Snow Park is a lovely spot, and an ideal location for a neighborhood dog park, and would serve the Lake Merritt area well. The addition of the dog park would be part of a complete overhaul of the park: adding park space, improving existing amenities, removing a road, and making it more accessible to the parkland across the street at the lake. As with any project in Oakland, there are a few people against it, and this dog park project, along with the overall improvements to Snow Park is no different.

We know we’ve asked you to come to many meetings, and we’re going to ask one more time. Please take time to come to this meeting. We’re way down on the agenda, so if you can’t make it for the start of the meeting, that’s OK. Just come! The project’s opponents will definitely be there. Remember to fill out a speaker’s card when you arrive, even if you don’t want to speak. You can always cede your time to someone else.

As always, we thank you for your continued support! Hopefully we’ll be socializing in this flagship dog park very soon!

WHEN: Wed., Sept 11. Meeting starts at 4:30, but we’re way down on the agenda

WHERE: Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave

What Service Dog Really Means

Recently, KQED hosted a radio forum called “Is the Bay Area Too Dog Friendly.” It ended up being a bashing session for people to complain about a handful of irresponsible dog owners, and the perceived misuse of Service Dog status. ODOG invited T. Christina Jacobs, who is training Saxon, her Staffordshire Bull Terrier to help with her invisible disability, and works toward educating the public about service dogs, to write an article about service dogs, “fakers,” and what the law says about service dogs.
What a Service Dog Really Means
Saxon the Stafford service dog

Saxon practicing his leave-it skills.

By T.Christina Jacobs

There is a lot of information and misinformation out there about Service Dogs (SDs). Most people believe there is some sort of certification or license required for a dog to be a SD, many believe that SDs can only help people who are blind, many believe that dogs must be trained by an organization or program in order to be SDs, and many seem to think that SDs must be certain breeds in order to be legitimate. In reality, all of this is false. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), there is no nationally recognized license or certification required for SDs or their handlers, SDs can be trained to assist individuals with many different kinds of disabilities both physical and mental, individuals may train their own SDs and any breed (or mix breed) of dog can be a SD as long as the dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for his disabled handler.The ADA is written in that way in order to make it easier for individuals with disabilities to have access to SDs. Many people who need SDs may have financial troubles, which would make it hard to pay for a program trained dog (which can cost several thousand dollars out of pocket) or a licensing/certification fee. It is also more cost effective for some people to be able to use smaller breeds as SDs in order to save money on food and other expenses. The ADA specifically allows for owner trainers (OT) and doesn’t limit the breed(s) allowed to be SDs because the ADA is all about inclusion and allowing disabled individuals to have the best chance possible at a normal life.

Despite the ADA explicitly saying that an individual must be legally disabled in order to have a SD and the dog must be individually trained to do work and perform tasks in order to be a SD, there are people who take advantage of the public’s lack of knowledge about the ADA and fake SDs in order to gain access to public places with their (often untrained) pets. Despite this being illegal in most states, and morally wrong, it seems to be getting more common. “Fakers” (the term the SD community uses to describe individuals who don’t have a real need for a SD) can make life for people with legitimate SDs much more difficult. Businesses who have experienced poorly behaved dogs being passed off as SDs may be more hesitant to allow legitimate teams into their establishment, members of the public who were allowed to pet a dog being passed off as a SD may pet and distract a legitimate SD causing his disabled handler to become sick or injured, people may be frightened by a poorly behaved pet dog being passed off as a SD making them believe that all SDs are poorly behaved and something to be feared. For these reasons and more, faking a Service Dog is wrong and shouldn’t be done, no matter how well behaved a pet dog may be.

That said, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions that an individual is a “faker” because the person doesn’t “look disabled” or the dog doesn’t “look like a Service Dog.” As noted earlier, dogs of all breeds and sizes can be SDs and they can be trained to help individuals with many different disabilities. Many are not aware that SDs can successfully be trained to assist people with psychiatric and emotional disabilities as well as physical ones. There have been SDs trained for PTSD, Anxiety Disorders, Panic Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Schizophrenia and many others. As long as there is a limitation that a dog can be trained to help with, there’s a way to train a SD to help any disabling condition! It really is amazing.

If it is not apparent that the dog is a SD by looking, there are two questions that a business owner/employee may legally ask. 1. Is that a Service Animal required because of a disability; and 2. What work or tasks has the dog been trained to perform. One cannot ask for any proof of the person’s disability, the dog’s training or ask that the dog perform any of his tasks. There are countless different tasks that dogs can be trained to do to help disabled individuals. These tasks include picking up dropped items, retrieving medication, opening doors, pulling a wheelchair, interrupting compulsive behaviors, alerting to sounds, guiding a handler, and so much more. Providing comfort is no longer considered a valid task for a SD according to the ADA, though it can be a very helpful bonus. If you are not a business owner or employee, the handler is not required to answer any of your questions. If you are polite and friendly, she may be willing to talk with you, but may not have the time or capability to do so. Please understand that some disabled individuals with SDs may have a hard time communicating or may be anxious in social situations. If a SD handler does not wish to talk, please be respectful of her wishes. Also, please always ask before petting a SD and do not be offended if the handler declines. The dog is working and may not be able to properly do his job if he is distracted.

For more information about Service Dogs please visit or  For more information about the author and her Service Dog in Training, please visit

ODOG East Bay Dog-Friendly Mapping Project

Map of Off-Leash Areas in the Oakland East Bay

Map of East Bay off-leash parks and trails, and dog-friendly bars and restaurants. Click to expand.

Last weekend at the Oakland CatVidFest, a very nice couple came up to the ODOG table. They just moved to Oakland from the East Coast, and suggested that we pull together a map of dog parks for our website. We thought that was a great idea! In addition to the few fenced dog parks in Oakland, we added in the great unfenced options. We also included a few of the dog-friendly bars and restaurants that we knew of. We’re pretty sure we missed some of each of those categories, so please let us know! Drop us a line if you know of any other off-leash parks or trails, or dog-friendly bars and restaurants.

New Dog Park Possibility for Lakeview

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 8.30.05 AM

The city is proposing a portion of Snow Park at 19th and Harrison as a possible location for a new dog park (instead of Lakeview/Astro). The dog area would be about half an acre, have an architectural fence and all the usual features. There will be a special meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission (PRAC) to get public input on the site and show some very general plans about how the dog park could be included as part of a total revitalization and expansion plan for park. The plan looks good to the ODOG members who have seen it.
There will be a public hearing on the site:
Mon., Jan. 28th, 4:30-6:30 pm
Lakeside Garden Center ($2.00 parking fee)
666 Bellevue

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