Owner carries his dog as they wait for blessings outside the San Francisco church in Lima
An owner carries his dog as they wait for blessings outside the San Francisco church in Lima October 5, 2008, during the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis is known as the patron saint of animals, birds, and the environment. Reuters

A proposal to set up rules to leash dog in federal parkland had been submitted. Dogs, which are currently allowed to wander around freely in federal parkland in San Francisco, may have to be leashed under the plans by the National Park Service.

The proposal was submitted because environmentalists say that dogs threaten native species and risk of dog attacks exists.

Dog owners and supporters got angry and got a chance to query seven mayoral candidates at a forum organized by a political action committee, which describes itself as a committee “whose scope is on the health and welfare of all animals but primarily issues relating to dogs in the City & County of San Francisco and beyond” named DogPAC of San Francisco on Saturday.

Those present at the forum included seven mayoral candidates and at least 50 people.

Audiences paid close attention to issues about cost of dog licenses, trash cans in parks, where owners can dispose of dog waste and pet-friendly rental housing for people who want to adopt foster animals, as well as where dogs are allowed to run off-leash.

All seven mayoral candidates who attended the forum claimed that they opposed the plan. We cannot allow dogs to not run free, one of the candidates, State Sen. Leland Yee said.

I don't understand given the value of dogs to people in this city why our federal officials aren't more focused on it, Bevan Dufty, former San Francisco Supervisor, said.

The number of dogs is larger than the number of children in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the 2010 U.S. Census. And with an estimated 100,000 dog owners in the city, DogPAC would play an important role in the November election.

And most people there love their dogs very much. “Our four-legged family members and companions are some of the most important partners in life,” Bruce Wolfe, president of DogPAC, a disable man who’ve just lost his dog which had accompany with him for ten years, said. “San Franciscans take their dogs very seriously.”

“Making San Francisco a family friendly city means recognizing the multitude of ways in which we define families,” Dennis Herrera, City Attorney said on his site. “And in the city of St. Francis, that includes dogs and companion animals.”

So issues concerning dog can have a deeply influence on polity in San Francisco and could even sway the coming mayoral race. “We expect the dog vote to be a game-changer.” Wolfe said.