Town Crier: Dangerous dogs on Oakland streets

MONTCLARION: March 18, 2011

My street is a dog walker’s dream. With wide lanes flanked by convenient bushes and brush, you see pooches parading with humans from dawn’s early light to the dead of night. I know most of the dogs by name. Pheiffer is my favorite — a fluffy-haired golden retriever who is always excited to see me. I swear that dog smiles when he’s happy — like a kid in an Apple Store with a $500 bill. But I do understand how dogs can make some people nervous — and the e-mails I’ve gotten on the subject punctuate my point.

“We feel completely unsafe in our neighborhood,” writes Kathy Ottesen, who says her husband and their dog were attacked, last month, by an aggressive Doberman who was loose in his yard. “This dog has caused so many problems and yet Animal Control has done nothing to protect the community,” she says.

Several others have weighed in with similar stories, and even dogs that are on-leash are causing concern.

“Pet stores sell those retractable leashes and those can extend as long as 26 feet,” writes one reader who feels the leashes should be banned. Still … we don’t want to overreact. Reader Miles Adler fears that tougher vicious dog laws in Oakland may end up singling out certain dogs.

“The problem here is NOT with any one breed,” he says, “it’s (with) the dog owners.” He says any new law should focus on the owners of vicious dogs, not the type of dog. “Let us stop the big dog hysteria and focus on the real problem,” he writes. A survey of readers on shows 65 percent want the city to pass tougher vicious dog laws.

In memory: He was there just a short time, but bartender Sean Cahill will be sorely missed at Monaghan’s. Customers are still asking for him five weeks after he passed away, suddenly, at 51. Sean was a fighter. He beat leukemia but couldn’t combat the damage that had been done to his heart. Still, his friends gave him two loving send-offs, with a wake at Monaghan’s and a Mass at St. Theresa Catholic Church.

E-mail bag: Thanks to reader Claudia Falconer for updating us on the big pipes and construction equipment along Shepherd Canyon Road. After years of dealing with sink holes along this stretch of street, she says neighbors petitioned the city to replace the storm drains. Crews are finally getting around to the repairs.

On stage: The Berkeley Rep continues to be at the forefront of theater that makes you think. The current production of “Ruined” is a riveting tale of a jungle bar and brothel that serves as a sanctuary for women in war-ravaged Congo.

The opposite end of the entertainment spectrum has the Curran in San Francisco featuring “Rock of Ages” — a sweet, if not silly, love story set to the music we loved during the ’80s — the decade of big hair and Reagan. If you like Journey and Jefferson Starship, you’ll find yourself singing along with the cast.

Jock talk: When does this guy sleep? Hills morning radio host Brian Murphy (Murph and Mac — KNBR) has written yet another sports book. On the heels of his book on Tiger Woods, Murph is coming out with a 12,000-word picture book on — what else — San Francisco’s Cinderella baseball team. Look for the Giants’ World Series book, “Worth the Wait,” due out March 31.


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