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Fort Funston: Know Why SF’s Iconic Dog-Walking Cliffs Can Be Dangerous | KQED

Surprisingly, even with dozens of pets operating over the dunes, solely three of the 97 reported rescues had been for canine.

Baxter has been concerned in lots of of those rescues. He explains that folks will see their canine land in a precarious state of affairs, name the hearth division, and nonetheless try to conduct a rescue themselves. In the roughly 5 to 6 minutes it takes for the rescue group to reach, the state of affairs can flip fully.

“Ironically, we’ve had so many incidents the place the pet is up with our rescue employees watching us rescue the human companion, as a result of the canine was capable of make it again up,” Baxter mentioned.

“This is another reason why we say don’t go over the cliff — call us. If we have to get canceled, we don’t care. We’re happy!”

Daly City resident Julio Valdez walks his canine at Fort Funston twice a day, and he says he’s seen the identical factor occur numerous occasions. He mentioned, “A lot of times they don’t give the dog enough justice of being a dog and letting them run free.”

In the assorted tales shared with KQED by those that had witnessed or participated in these rescues, a pattern appeared: A claustrophobic metropolis canine hops out of the automotive, and the usually house-trained pet has its instincts activated by the distractions of the pure world. Several park guests mentioned the ravens appear to trick the canine into chasing them off the sting. Others steered that the proprietor’s callback will get drowned out by the wind, or is missed amid the thrill of assembly so many different animals. This could trigger a canine proprietor to panic, considering their canine has gone rogue, and a chase could ensue. Other occasions, the human companions may lose sight of their pet, see the form of their canine slip from view over the crest of a dune, and dive after them.

Unfortunately, the recognition of the park and the frequency of profitable rescues could trigger individuals to overlook that the engaging panorama has been the location of lethal disasters. They could not know concerning the man who crashed his grasp glider final month, or that on Christmas Day 2020 an individual was critically injured after driving her car off the cliff. They could overlook that in 2019 a young woman died when the eroded sand gave means and buried her, a good friend and their canine on the seaside.

Considering how steadily these occasions occur, one may surprise why leashes should not necessary, or why individuals nonetheless attempt to scale down the windswept cliffs.

Sally Stephens is the chair of SFDOG, a canine proprietor’s group that pushes for expanded entry for pet homeowners within the metropolis, which incorporates off-leash insurance policies. She says not having to make use of a leash is right for homeowners who’re looking for to coach their canine’s habits or construct belief. It can also be good for the consolation of canine, whose emotional well-being depends on mobility.

Stephens says that, finally, the duty is on canine homeowners to be conscientious and use their frequent sense. Her recommendation for homeowners is to not let canine off leash if they don’t reliably return to the sound of your voice.

“Off-leash recreation with your dog doesn’t just mean letting your dog run free. In fact the Park Service calls them voice-control areas. You have to have control of your dog, whether that be with a leash or with your voice,” she mentioned.

The unobstructed edges at Fort Funston are beloved however, like all pure wonders, name for consciousness and sensible information of the surroundings. If a canine finally ends up on the slope, Baxter recommends calling the rescue group and emphasizes ready in place, away from the cliff. Very probably, a canine has a greater skill to climb or descend safely than its proprietor.

However, whether or not a customer brings a canine or not, eroded sand is a hazard to anyone who stands on it. Take care to comply with the indicators and never go away the path — in any other case a rescue group and a metropolis positive may come your means.

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