Dogs are the new kids — in San Francisco, at least. With 180,000 dogs in the city and only 107,000 children, it is not surprising to see a new political action committee, representing dog enthusiast groups citywide, gaining momentum.
"There are thousands of dog owners who feel their voices aren’t being heard," said Bruce Wolfe, DogPAC president.
While the incumbent candidate for mayor, Ed Lee, declined to sit down with DogPAC or attend a debate sponsored by the group, his opponents have been embracing the newfound power of dog owners. Dennis Herrera, mayoral candidate and current city attorney, has a 725-word statement regarding his stance on dog issues.
"There are a lot of ways we define families in San Francisco, and dogs and animals are a part of those families," said Herrera. With many young couples now choosing to postpone having children until later in life, dogs are taking their place instead.
District supervisor John Avalos, also running for mayor, led a passionate rally to demand that a coastal strip of beach be kept leash-free. The proposal by the National Park Service to require leashes at Golden Gate National Recreational Area is of the foremost concern to DogPAC, and Avalos's rally to support their initiative won him their endorsement. DogPAC intends to send mailers and raise money on his behalf.
"We’re noticing the diminishing power of families and children," said Chelsea Boilard, a program director at Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, a group based in San Francisco. "It’s not surprising to see dog owners gain political power."
It’s a fitting movement for San Francisco, a city named for Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals.
Image: Tony / via Flickr