OP-ED: Is Emeryville a “Dog-Friendly” city?

2 mins read

On the day proclaimed “National Dog Day” (August 26th) I thought it a good time to take inventory of our own city’s dog friendly amenities and ask the question: Is Emeryville “Dog-Friendly”? The recent KQED Forum segment “Is the Bay Area Too Dog Friendly?” set off a debate amongst lovers of our four-legged friends and those that perceive them as a nuisance (or at least their irresponsible owners) if things had gone too far. Across the bridge, there are abundant off-leash dog-parks, doggie “Spas” and even luxury hotels. While our city prepares to dole out $11 million for the Center of Community Life, pet owners might be asking “uh, can we get a sliver of that for us?”. In a city struggling to reverse its course and embrace families, has it ignored likely the most populated segment of the city?

According to the American Humane society website, 46% of US household own at least one dog. In E’ville, a whopping 50% of households are single residents and only 14% of households have school-age children. Stats are not kept on Pet population but even the most conservative estimates of 1/3 of our 10,000+ population would translate to over 3,000 dogs in our 1.2 square mile city.


There’s doesn’t seem to be a shortage of boarding, supply and grooming facilities … just areas to let our canine companions run free. The recently renovated Temescal Creek Park only now in 2013 brings to Emeryville its first off-leash Dog-Run. It’s a nice gesture for Dog-lovers but it is a minuscule, mulch-filled “run” (not a park). The open-space artery of our city, Doyle-Hollis Park, does not allow dogs. The latest Archstone Development (since acquired by Equity Residential) Parkside Apartments on Powell & Hollis promises an addition to this  “A lushly landscaped park adjacent to the apartment community. The public park will be the first and only off-leash dog park within the City of Emeryville, offering residents a fun, unique entertainment venue for their furry friends – and their dogs!” They also make mention of the inclusion of a “Pet-Spa”. The “Mecca” of all East Bay dog Parks, Point Isabel in neighboring Berkeley, is a reminder of a city that takes its love for dogs seriously! The forthcoming Sherwin-Williams development and its promised two-acres of open space may be the city’s biggest opportunity to create a true off-leash, Dog-Friendly “Park”.


And what about bringing your dogs along with you? Emeryville staple Rudy’s Can’t fail has a strict policy forbidding dogs in its patio area leaving only a handful of restaurants with outdoor areas that can accommodate canines. By my count: Prizefighter, Bucci’s & Aquarius Cafe (my personal favorite). The website BringFido.com also list Pasta Pomodora at Bat Street. Please chime-in if you know more!

There are arguments that say we may have already gone overboard for our pets (I think we’ve all stepped in this “argument” before) but fundamentally I believe dog interaction promotes neighbor interaction (The same way that parks with children’s play structures promote interaction amongst parents). I often state that I didn’t really meet many of my neighbors until I adopted a dog and had to walk her outside 3-4 times per day. People are just more approachable when they have a (well-behaved) dog with them. They are the ultimate “Ice-Breaker”. Many studies have spotlighted the benefits of owning a pet including companionship, the reduction of stress & how they encourage outdoor activity … sounds like things the city should support!
So what are your thoughts on Emeryville’s current level of “Dog-Friendliness”?

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If you like doggie pics, be sure to follow us on Instagram @EvilleEye and tag your own pet pics #EvillePets to show up in the gallery below!

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. Lack of a dog park is not the reason there are so few families with children in Emeryville. All new residential building is either condos or apartments – no single family homes. And I’m afraid the schools, even though they are trying hard, are not up to par.

    • Hopefully that wasn’t the “takeaway” from this post (If so, I failed as a writer). I don’t think being “Family-Friendly” and “Pet-Friendly” are mutually exclusive ambitions though.

  2. Love dogs and can’t understand why their owners chose not to pick up after them. We live on the greenbelt and are greeted frequently by a turd of various size. Annoyed citizens like me will lead to E’ville being less dog friendly. Not the dogs fault.

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