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Pamela Baldwin reads letter from:

Sgt. William Herndon

Comments at 1/23/01 GGNRA Advisory Commission Meeting

"This is a letter that is signed by William Herndon of the San Francisco Police Department."
read by Pamela Baldwin

Dear Commissioners, I am the hearing officer for the City and County of San Francisco on all matters of vicious and dangerous dogs that are addressed under the Health Code. The Health Code addresses not only biting dogs, but also menacing behavior. I have held this position for about seven years, and have heard hundreds of cases. We have received national and worldwide attention from television, radio and printed media. "Dog Court", as the media likes to call it, has addressed many problems that have been ignored by other communities. I was also involved as a member of the City and County of San Francisco's Off-leash Task Force.

The City and County of San Francisco has experienced a huge reduction of all biting incidents. --

("which we would love to have your spokesmen reflect when they're talking on television about how many people are being bitten" - Pamela Baldwin )

-- Last year I believe we were down 30%, and are on track for a larger reduction this year.

These reductions I believe are a result of the combined effort of the dog community working with the city officials to promote responsible dog ownership.

Off-leash dog areas are a key ingredient to proper animal management. Dogs need to run, play, jump, and exercise. These needs cannot be properly met at the end of a leash. It is imperative that off-leash dog areas be made available to the public. Without them, we will see a rise in bites and numerous other problems that result from dogs not being properly socialized.

It is a very important thing to remember that, to every dog is attached a person, and that person is the one who needs to be responsible for that dog.

Off-leash dog walking areas need to be increased, not eliminated.

I am available to any member of the Commission or member of the public if it can be of any assistance with this issue or any dog-related issue.

Sgt. William N. Herndon, Hearing Officer

Park Station, San Francisco Police Department

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