In San Francisco's Public Sex Mecca, Dogs Left Out of the Action

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A person wishing to have public sex in San Francisco can find significant swaths of the city all but reserved for this activity. Buena Vista Park; the trees between South Fork Drive and JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park; the woods where El Camino del Mar becomes Lands End Trail; the beaches West of Lincoln Boulevard in the Presidio -- all of these are occupied, at one time of another, by strangers milling around hoping to hook up, often en plein air. Human fans of public sex also find a once-yearly outlet at the Folsom Street Fair.

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Not here you don't.
But if you're not human there's no place in this city to have sex on public property. Public animal sex is, for the most part, illegal in San Francisco. If that animal happens to be a pit bull, owners may face multiple fines if their animal so much as possesses equipment sufficient for sex. 

According to the San Francisco Health Code, "It shall be unlawful for the owner or guardian of any animal to permit said animal to breed on public property"

In January, 2005 I made a public plea to repeal this blue law that made it illegal for dogs to have sex on San Francisco property.

But when it comes to the yen to socialize, to form romantic relationships, and to love -- to satisfy life's most basic desires -- dogs suffer a level of discrimination worse than any human not residing in a penal colony..
Nobody listened. Instead, tragedy struck and the no-public-dog-sex situation got even worse. That June, 12-year-old Nicholas Faibish was killed when he came in contact with two pit bulls, a male and a female in heat.

"The mayor put a dog task force together, and we were studying incidents where people were severely mauled and killed," said Animal Control director Rebecca Katz. "It turned out, it often involved dogs that weren't neutered and were in a breeding frenzy, like in the Faibish case."

News reports suggest the mandatory neutering has brought a semblance of peace, with fewer such animals ending up at the city pound.

Katz' predecessor, Carl Friedman, told me in 2005 that he couldn't recall an incident since he started in the 1970s when animal control officers had cited anyone under the city's code section banning public animal sex. However, Katz said the city routinely enforces the anti-pit bull breeding law.

In July three people were attacked in Golden Gate Park by a pit bull that SFPD animal specialist Officer John Denny said was part of a "breeding couple." The dogs were seized and killed, reports said.

More commonly, police officers will respond to a call not related to animals, see a pit bull, and check to see if it has gonads.

If it's female, "They'll ask if the dog is altered," Katz said. If not, "they seize the dog."

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