December 12, 1993

Re: Dogs in Waterfront Park

To the Editor:

Biologist Thomas Kucera, in advocating allowing dogs in the park, rather than using it as wildlife habitat, demonstrated everything that is wrong with science and humanity. His logic is exactly the kind of specious "reasoning" that has gotten the world in the huge mess it's in now.

First he says that the area consists of low value wildlife habitat, which I accept. He is, I assume, an expert on this. But then he leaves his field of expertise to conclude that therefore it is okay to degrade the area further by allowing dogs there. ("It's already messed up a little, so that makes it okay to mess it up some more!")

It seems to me that it is more logical to conclude that therefore the area should be restored to a condition that will make it good habitat for wildlife. After all, before man came here, it was perfectly good habitat!

Then he says that the issue is unimportant. On the contrary. This is the biggest issue since man appeared on the Earth: little by little, we have taken over almost every square inch of the Earth and driven thousands of species to extinction in the process -- the very same process that is happening in Waterfront Park. Most people in the Bay Area probably can not even name a single wildlife habitat here that is off-limits to humans. That is how little we care about the other life forms with which we share the only place where life is known to exist, and upon whom, by the way, our own existence depends.

This also illustrates exactly why dogs should not be allowed in the city: there is no place for them to run free and have a satisfying life as a dog. I think it is cruel to raise a dog (and therefore probably people as well) in this concrete desert. And it is even crueler to the native species that were pushed out or even driven to extinction to make room for us and our dogs.

Wouldn't you prefer to reverse this trend? And I would hope that our biologists will give us a hand, instead of simply rationalizing this insanity.


Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.