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On a picture-perfect October evening, my 5-year-old son ran onto the sports field at Codornices Park, intending to play some soccer. As usual, several dogs populated the field, and, as usual, virtually none of them were leashed (a violation of the park’s rules). My son neither looked at the dogs nor was he particularly close to any of them. Yet one herding dog sure noticed him, tearing several dozen yards across the grass and sinking its teeth into my son’s leg. My son thus became one of 50 people in Berkeley who reported being bitten by a dog in 2021. (Seven additional reports involved dogs biting other dogs.) These are likely undercounts, as not everyone relays such incidents to Berkeley Animal Care Services. Nationwide, roughly 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites every year , of which hundreds of thousands require medical care. Even worse, dogs killed 568 Americans from 2005 to 2020, according to a dog bite victims’ group that compiles such statistics. Off-leash dogs are also major harassers of wildlife . Nesting birds, in particular, may abandon their chicks and eggs when overly disturbed, while migratory shorebirds, hordes of which stop in the Bay Area as part of lengthy journeys to and from the Arctic, are forced to use up their fat reserves fleeing dogs rather than feeding. As a birder and conservationist, I feel huge amounts of frustration every time I witness a dog in avian attack mode. Even when not chasing other animals, dogs contaminate waterways […]