Dog Play Areas Program

dog and ball and dpa

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission has designated specific park areas throughout the city as off-leash dog areas for you and your pet. Please help preserve a pleasant experience for all park users by keeping these areas neat and clean and following our new citywide dog policy. Thank you!

Some background on how we got here

After releasing a draft dog policy in June 2001, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department reviewed and considered more than 2,700 responses to that document. Nearly 300 staff hours were spent reading, evaluating, refining and incorporating suggestions from the public to come up with a workable solution for everyone.

While some disagreed with the initial policy, we found several areas of common ground. Most citizens, whether dog owners or not, liked the idea of having designated offleash zones. Most citizens also supported having the City’s cleanup and leash laws enforced. However, that said, it was clear that there was some confusion surrounding the draft dog policy. Approved by the Recreation and Park Commission in May 2002, the finalized off-leash policy helps clear up some of that confusion.

Why we need an off-leash dog policy

The City recognizes the strength, character and positive influence the pet-owning community brings to our neighborhood parks. We are continually looking to increase and improve recreational opportunities for these people, as well as for other park users. The Commission’s new policy will create more places for legitimate off-leash use in our parks. Because off-leash use sometimes creates conflict with the rich breadth of other uses our parks host, we are committed to finding solutions that allow all park users to coexist peacefully, and that means defining spaces where dogs may run freely.

Your Neighborhood Park

If you or your neighborhood group would like to establish a new off-leash area in your local park, or add or repair amenities in your existing off-leash area, please submit a written request to:

San Francisco Recreation & Park Department,
Attn: General Manager, 501 Stanyan Street,
San Francisco, CA 94117

The Department will review your request and make a recommendation to the Dog Advisory Committee. The Committee will then begin the public/community process that will include public notification and opportunities for input from park users and neighbors.

It’s the Law: Relevant City Ordinances

San Francisco Health Code

  • Section 40 – states that dogs must be controlled so as not to commit nuisances; all dog feces must be removed; and all dog walkers must carry materials to remove dog feces.
  • Sec. 41.12 – All dogs must be leashed or tethered except in designated exercise areas. Dog guardians must be physically present at all times. Ordinance also describes circumstances when dog barking becomes an offense.
  • Sec. 41.15 – Dog License Requirement– Every dog over 4 months old must have a current license.
  • Sec. 41.18 – Dogs over 4 months are required to have current rabies vaccinations.
  • Sec. 41.5.1 – Biting dogs– also includes definitions, information on declaring dangerous dogs, fines and penalties.
  • Sec. 42.1 – Fight training for dogs is prohibited.

Please help Maintain our Parks

  • Pick Up and Remove Dog Waste
  • Leash Your Dog(s) in On-Leash Areas
  • Do Not Leave Your Pet Unattended
  • Control Excessive Barking and Noise
  • Prevent Digging/Destructive Behavior
  • Keep Vaccinations and Licenses Current
  • Dog Walkers Welcome; Please Limit the Number of Dogs Under Your Care to┬áNine

Who to Contact

San Francisco Recreation and Park Department
(415) 831-2700

S.F. Police Department
(415) 554-0123 or 911 – To report vicious dogs.

Animal Care & Control
(415) 554-9400 – To report injured or stray dogs.

San Francisco Health Department
(415) 554-2830 – To report dog bites.

Location Map