Dogs at the Park

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Off-leash dogs at Tilden park

May 2011

Lately I've become increasingly concerned about ''pack'' dog walkers in Tilden Park..... so much so that I am wondering if it's still safe to take my kids and my dog for hikes up there. Earlier this year a dog who was with a dog walker and a few other dogs bit my hand -- the dog ran up to me and barked and I (stupidly) put out my hand and said ''hi'' and he bit me and growled. The dog walker was apologetic and put him on a leash, but then two weeks later I saw him off-leash with her again. Then last week a dog who was with 3 other dogs and a dog walker ran up, barked and bit my dog who was on a leash. That dog walker did not put that dog on a leash, and told me rudely that it was an off-leash trail and she had a permit. It seems like those dog walkers who don't have control over their ''packs'' are going to ruin off-leash trails for everyone (kids, other dogs who are under voice control, etc). I wonder if it's just chance that I have had these two experiences or if it's becoming a more common thing up there?

Concerned mom (of kids and dogs)

I know several highly responsible dog walkers, and I could guarantee you that if something like this were to happen, they'd take it seriously. There is probably 1 bad (licensed) dog walker per 10 (licensed or unlicensed) GREAT ones. There are also often a dog or two who gets into pack mentality, or has issues, and you have unfortunately walked into a couple of instances where one or both of these apply. They do have a right to be on certain walking trails but, and this is an important but: The dogs have to be in complete voice control at all times, or have to be on leash. The dog that bit you did so because you did something wrong; it gave you a clear warning and you approached anyway. Bad that the dog did it, but in his/her world, you were the bad guy. But a bite is a bite and any dog that bites must be reported. You should get the license # of the walker if you can, and take pictures with your phone/camera. Find a ranger, if you can't find one, call the parks dept, and file complaints, using the license # and photos. The people walking these dogs behaved very irresponsibly and should not be walking these dogs in the parks. If you see behavior that is not appropriate or you don't feel safe, leave the trail and file the complaint. The rangers will do something. Anon

please, please, please contract the EBRPD and report each and every incident with an out of control dog. The park district needs to get the message that their dog policy is inadequate and they need to know how often dog incidents really happen. Note that the park website says: ''Anyone involved in a dog bite or any incident resulting in injury in the East Bay Regional Park District is required to exchange information with other involved parties.'' Use your cell phone and take pictures of a non-compliant dog and owner. A dog is out of control if it jumps on you, bites you or charges you. Getting the dog under control after the fact doesn't count. My husband was bitten this weekend by a dog in an EBRPD and the owner yelled at my husband for existing, and refused to provide information. I've also been known to report dogs chasing wildlife (hey if it was on a leash it couldn't chase the deer) and don't get me started on the plastic bags of dog poop they leave along the trails.... parks are for people first

Why don't you speak with the park rangers at Tilden's Little Farm facility? I am sure they would appreciate this information. I agree it is a big problem (and sometime people walk their dogs on NON-dog trails, another problem). dogs are not for everyone

I've walked in Tilden at least twice a week for several years and am impressed at how well behaved most dogs are. The worst that has ever happened to me is a dog jumping up, I've never been bitten or even growled at. I think you were unlucky, but a vicious bite should always be reported. anon

Thanks for the responses re: problems with dog walkers in Tilden Park. Just wanted to clarify that the dog that bit me ran up TO ME; I did not approach the dog. When I held out my hand as he arrived in front of me, he bit it.

I did report the incidents to the EBRPD. The problem as I see it with the pack dog walkers is that they are issued licenses to take dogs off-leash up in Tilden based solely on having a business license. Shouldn't there be some level of competency proven before they're ''unleashed'' with a pack of dogs in a regional park? Original poster