Four-Legged Foodies Rejoice: Fancy Pet Food Store Opening on Precita Park

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The commercial space on the northwest corner of the Precita/Alabama intersection has seen many transitions in recent years.

That wasn’t always the case; For around 100 years, it was just a typical San Francisco corner store. That changed in 2011, when the corner store closed. Then it became an ill-fated children’s art center and gym, which was followed in by an ill-fated pet grooming shop.

Now the wheel has turned again, and 433 Precita is set to become… a natural pet food store!

The new place is called Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Food, and Bernalwood is told it will offer a mix of house-made and locally produced organic dog and cat cuisine, in all your favorite flavors. Like, for example, Canine Beef, Yams, and Broccoli

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… or Feline Turkey and Polenta:

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The full menu of Jeffrey’s house-made food is right here.

The About page tells us:

Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods is the best source of raw, organic and all natural pet foods, treats, supplies and information in San Francisco. At Jeffrey’s, we make our own locally sourced, fresh, handmade pet foods and treats.

Jeffrey’s Fresh Meat Pet Foods are prepared five days a week, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Our food contains only the highest quality ingredients: raw, free range meats free from hormones and antibiotics, fresh organic vegetables, vitamins and minerals. Our food is a great choice for your dog or cat.

The Precita Park outpost will be Jeffrey’s third; the other two are in The Castro and North Beach.

If all goes according to plan, Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods will be open this weekend. No word on plans for weekend brunch service; or if they do wedding, bar mitzvah, or quinceañera catering; or if reservations are required for parties of more than six.

Meanwhile, if you listen carefully, you might just hear the sound of a certain change-averse Bernal neighbor‘s head imploding just a few blocks away: “Gourmet organic pet food?  Whaaaaaaaaaat???!”

PHOTOS: Top, Telstar Logistics. Below, Jeffrey’s Natural Pet Foods

Bernal Author Jon Mooallem Stars in “Mooallempalooza” Double-Feature Podcast

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Regular readers of Bernalwood will recognize Neighbor Jon Mooallem — he’s a Bernal Heights literary superstar, Pop Up Magazine celebrity, and high-five scholar. To that impressive list of glamorous accomplishments, we can now add another: Neighbor Jon is also the namesake and star of Mooallempalooza!

Mooallempalooza is a special double-feature podcast created by the awesome 99% Invisible team, and it’s a lovely way to experience Neighbor Jon’s myriad talents:

As you probably know, 99% Invisible is a show about the built world, about things manufactured by humans. We don’t tend to do stories about animals or nature. But our friend Jon Mooallem writes brilliant stories about the weird interactions between animals and humans, interactions that are becoming ever weirder and more designed. Mooallem is a writer with the New York Times Magazine and for Pop -Up Magazine, the live magazine in San Francisco, which is where we first heard these two stories. You might remember them as episodes #40 and #91 respectively, but now we present them together in a radio special we’re calling Mooallempalooza.

Your Bernalwood editor listened to Mooallempalooza in the car during a lazy drive back to Bernal Heights over the winter break, and it left me smiling all day. Tune in to Mooallempalooza to hear Neighbor Jon explain the true history of the Teddy Bear, along with a live performance of selections from his book, Wild Ones, with musical accompaniment from the band Black Prairie. It’s so wonderful.

Enjoy Mooallempalooza right here, or on your favorite podcasting app (just search for 99% Invisible).

It will fill you with earthly amazement, creative inspiration, and neighborly pride.

PHOTO: Jon Mooallem

Holiday Season Pro Tips for Bernal Dogs, Cats, and the Humans Who Love Them

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Neighbor Nicolette Zarday lives on Bernal’s tony west side, and she works as a veterinarian at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos. (You might remember her from such previous pearls of Bernal Heights pet wisdom as  “Foxtails: Delicious But Deadly.”) With the holiday season fast approaching, Neighbor Nicolette has shared some tips on how you and your critters can get through it all with your good cheer intact.

She tells Bernalwood:

Tis the season to eat holly, as well as poinsettias, chocolate, tinsel, ribbon, raisin spice cake, turkey carcass, and whatever is in the garbage can. You have no idea how delicious the compost bin smells this time of year.

At the pet hospital where I work, we generally see a lull in emergencies and appointments after the summer, but business ticks up around the holidays. Many of the problems are caused by “dietary indiscretion,” as we like to call it. Heartfelt gatherings of family and friends end an emergency pet hospital visit when the family dog starts throwing up after plundering an unattended kitchen. Some kitties just can’t wait until Christmas day to open the presents.

Here are some of the top holiday hazards to keep in mind. It’s not an exhaustive list, because pets always find ways to surprise us. Yet these are some of the more common reasons for pet ER visits this time of year.

Chocolate:  The darker, the more intense, the better for humans — and the more toxic for pets. Most people know chocolate can be toxic to dogs and cats, because animals don’t metabolize the caffeine-like compounds well. Halloween candy is rarely a problem, since that “chocolate” is mostly high fructose corn syrup and processed junk. But the good stuff that starts showing up for the holidays can cause trouble. Chocolate ingestion can be quite serious, but fortunately it’s rarely fatal if treated promptly.

Raisins, Grapes, and Currants: This has the veterinary and pet-owning community flummoxed. We still don’t know what makes these so deadly. Even garden-grown, organic grapes have caused illness. Fortunately, ingestion rarely results in illness. But when it does, however, kidney failure develops, often leading to death.

Fat: Yes, it makes everything taste more delicious. Drippings on the foil that’s in the garbage, turkey skin, leftover gravy, buttery creamy dishes… this time of year is ripe with fatty delights.While not technically toxic, excessive ingestion of fat can cause a give a dog a very upset stomach, and more seriously, acute pancreatitis.

Bones: Turkey carcasses, meat bones, chicken bones… they can get stuck in the esophagus, or create an intestinal blockage, or, more commonly, general digestive unhappiness. Fortunately, if bones make it to the stomach and stay there for a few hours, stomach acid will usually dissolve most of them.

Stringy Things: Here’s a diagnosis you never want to hear from your veterinarian: “linear foreign body.” This tends to be a problem for cats, who love to chase stringy things, but we see it in dogs too. Ribbon from wrapped gifts or tinsel from the Christmas tree gets caught on the tongue, and then swallowed. The gastrointestinal tract, doing its gastrointestinal thing, tries to move the string down the tract, but one end is caught on something higher up. The intestines get bunched up on the taut string, and it’s really bad. These animals act sick: not eating, very lethargic, usually vomiting. Surgery is the only solution.

Holly, Mistletoe, and Poinsettias: These plants are mildly toxic if ingested in small amounts, causing nothing worse than gastrointestinal sadness. In greater quantities, neurologic signs can develop.

Wild Mushrooms: This has nothing to do with the holidays, but in Northern California, we start to see mushrooms popping up this time of year because of the rains. Most mushrooms are not a big problem, but the ones that are bad are really bad and can cause liver failure. Puppies are often victims because they’re the least discriminating. Keep an eye on what goes into your dog’s mouth at all times.

Remember: Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested something that may be a problem. If you suspect a toxin, look it up: the Pet Poison Helpline or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control page have great information and 24 hour call-in services.

Be safe and stay merry!

IMAGE: Christmas cat via Wikimedia Commons

 

Victorian NIMBYs Were Very Annoyed by Stinky Stockyards in Bernal Heights

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Solomon’s Stockyards, as illustrated by The San Francisco Call, 1893

Neighbor Vicky Walker from the Bernal Heights History Project shared this gem with Bernalwood. It’s an 1893 tale of angry Bernal neighbors, forlorn cows, miserable horses, “foul smells,” and “noxious odors.” Oh, and lots and lots of health code violations.

The story catches Bernal Heights at an awkward moment in the late nineteenth century, as the neighborhood is completing its transition from livestock pastureland to proto-gentrified residential enclave.

At the time, neighbors along present-day Coledridge Street (then called California Ave) were rather annoyed that several legacy property-owners nearby were continuing to operate livestock businesses, in clear violation of prevailing laws which, at the time, allowed no more than two cows to reside on any property in Bernal.

It’s sort of a Victorian version of squabbling over street parking etiquette and illegal sublets or soccer fields, only with lots more animal manure and rotting offal.

The noxious-smelling properties in 1893 were Solomon’s Stockyard on Mission at Fair Street (roughly the site of today’s Taqueria Cancun), and the Kahn & Levy stockyard at the corner of Mission and Cortland (approximately the site of Zante’s).

To help you get oriented, here are the approximate locations,  annotated on an 1889 map of Bernal Heights:

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And here’s the tale of “A Real Nuisance,” as it appeared in the Saturday, July 29, 1893 edition of the San Francisco Morning Call.

It’s an awesome read with some wonderful characters (viva Neighbor Seculovich! You go, Precita Valley Improvement Club!!) so… enjoy:

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A REAL NUISANCE

Salomon’s Stockyard at the Mission
ITS INDEFINABLE STENCHES
The Owner Arrested Three Times for Violating a Provision of the Board of Health

The Board of Health is determined to check the nuisance in the Western Mission known as Salomon’s stockyard. The proprietor has been arrested three times on the charge of menacing the health of the neighborhood, but still the foul smell place spreads its noxious odors itbout, and offends the nostrils of residents. The stockyard in question is situated on Mission street, and runs back along Fair avenue to California avenue. It has a frontage of about 200 feet on Mission Street, and presents an unbroken line on Fair avenue.

The large space is divided into corrals, and partially occupied by rickety sheds, while forlorn cows and distressed-looking horses wauder about the little spaces. Goats scramble over the fences and join in the general search for something to eat.

There are great piles of manure in the enclosures, and the contracted stalls are damp and odorous. In one of the small stables there were four cows crowded, while others ambled about the lot. The horses were confined in the lot that corners on Fair and California avenues, but the cows are directly on the Mission street front, nearly opposite the turn-table of the Valencia street cable road.

In spite of the unhealthful surroundings Mr. Salomon denies that the place is a nuisance, though he confesses that he has been arrested on such a charge. “It is all spitework,” he said, “and is caused by this man Seculovich, who lives right next my cow stables .”

An inspection of the premises of Mr. Seculovich showed that the rear end of Salomon’s cow stables was within a few feet of his kitchen door, and the stench of the offal was almost unendurable. Seculovich has a comfortable though unpretentious home, and his yard is filled with flowers and fruit trees. He says that the odor from the lining cowsheds has caused him no end of annoyance and that he proposes to insist upon the abatement of the nuisance.

Dr. Kseney, the nominal head of the Board of Health, said that Salomon was arrested the last time on the 26th inst., the charge being that he maintained a nuisance. “This is the third time Salomon has been arrested,” continued Dr. Keeney, “and we propose to continue our tactics, as defined by the health laws and the Board of Supervisors. The law very plainly prescribes that no person is permitted to maintain more than two cows within the city limits. There are exceptions to this law, inasmuch as the prohibitory district is not carefully defined. Its inner limits are far beyond the corner of Mission street and Fair avenue, and it is upon this definition of the law that we propose to make Mr. Salomon abate the nuisance created by his stockyard.”

The first time Salomon was arrested he’ was fined $100 by Judge Low. He appealed from this decision, and the case was carried to the Superior Court, but it has not yet been placed upon the calendar. Pending the appeal Salomon was again arrested, He was to have been tried on the 4th prox., but there was some question as to the legality of the complaint, and, upon the advice of our attorney, the case was dismissed. However, another complaint was properly drawn and he was arrested on the 4th inst.

“I have personally visited the premises and I am convinced of the justice of the complaints made against the place. The Precita Valley Improvement Club has also entered a protest against the nuisance, and we have received numerous complaints from individuals other than Mr. Seculovich.

“The slope of Salomon’s stockyard is a particularly bad feature. It drains directly into Mission Street and befouls the cellars and yards on the lower side of the street. On damp, foggy days the stench of the stockyards clings closely to the ground, and the breezes carry it directly into houses, to say nothing of offending the nostrils of every person within a radius of a mile or more. The place is a counterpart of the Seventh street dumps, though there is no occasion for its existence. The enforcement of the local health laws is all that is necessary to cause Solomon to seek other quarters, and we propose to compel him to vacate.”

I.L. Salomon, the son of the proprietor, said: “We only keep cows here occasionally. We buy ana sell and the stock is never here more than a day or two at a time.”

“But then you get fresh stock in its place, don’t you?”

“Oh yes, that’s our business. We buy and sell and use this yard as a place of inspection for purchasers. Our plane is no worse than lots of others, and I am going to fight the law in the Superior Court.”

Kahn & Levy, another firm of stockdealers, have a large yard at the corner of Mission street and Cortland avenue, about three blocks above Solomon’s place. It has precisely. the same slope of drainage and sends its filth and slime down to the residence portion of the Western Addition. Yesterday the yards were fairly filled with horses and cows, in plain violation of the sanitary laws. A sickening stench pervaded thn atmosphere, and the animals in” the corrals tramped about with a hungry air.

Dr. Keeney was asked about trie Kahn & Levy place, and he replied: “The owners have decided to lenve there, and in about two weeks the stock and buildings will all be removed. This course will practically abate the nuisance. That portion of the Mission is not very thickly populated, and consequently the complaints against this particular yard were not very numerous. However, we took prompt action when the first notice was served, and the owners at once concluded that it was to their interest to remove from the neighborhood. We will compel this man Salomon to reach the same conclusion.”

“Is there any special law against the I maintenance of stockyards in the city?” was asked of Dr. Keeney.

“No, not aside from the ordinance which I says that no person shall maintain more than two cows within certain limits. Residents at the Mission have been long enough annoyed by infractions of this law, and we propose io arrest and fine every person who continues such a course after a warning has been served. There are no exceptions inside the limits, and any person having a grievance in this respect should at once notify the Health Office.”

The hearing of the third charge against I. L. Salomon will be set this morning in Judge Low’s department of the Police Court.

ILLUSTRATION: Top: Solomon’s Stockyards, from the The Call

UPDATED: Handbill Announces Curious Cat Has Been Shipped Off to Animal Control

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This is the kind of thing that almost makes you grateful for passive-aggressive parking notes. Almost. Because rather than just complaining about an awkwardly parked car, this note explains that an awkwardly curious cat was unceremoniously shipped off to Animal Control.

Neigbor Lev reports:

I found this superlatively passive-aggressive note on my walk today. Gee, I hope this guy’s owners see it… or else it’s off to the violin factory for this cat.

The note says (in English and Spanish):

This cat keeps coming into our house through the dog door. It seems like it may have another home in the neighborhood.

The humans in the house are allergic to cats, and the dog hates them.  So the cat is now at Animal Care & Control (415-554-6364)

Yikes! Is this your cat, missing from the east side of Bernal around Mojave and Peralta? Well, now you know where he/she went.

UPDATE, 12:10 pm: The kitty’s owner saw this post, and the vagabond cat will soon be on the way home:

Thanks to Bernalwood, RKNN’s owner is on his way to the shelter right now! RKNN (aka Sebastian) just moved to Bradford and Mojave and must have gotten lost after sneaking out. Our immediate neighbors were kind enough to rescue him (thanks, JB!). I’m sure he will be chipped and collared after this.

PHOTO: Neighbor Lev

Lost and Found: The Curious Tale of the Randy Rooster Captured Yesterday Near Precita Park

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Neighbor Jeremy tells the tale of the rooster that showed up outside his home near Precita Park yesterday, how he (valiantly) captured said rooster, and how you can claim the creature if he was yours:

On Sunday I overheard the murmur of a crowd of onlookers gathering outside my house. I caught snippets such as “Wow, look! It’s a rooster”, and “How did that rooster get there?”. After what sounded like an entire class field trip stopped by to gawk, goaded by a parental “Hey look kids! A rooster!  I figured I should go out and see it for myself.

When I opened my front door, however, I wasn’t prepared for A Full-On, Actual Rooster, standing on my doorstep. I closed the door and shouted for my girlfriend:

“Honey!

“What?”

“There’s a rooster on the doorstep!”

The SF’s Animal Control dispatcher that I reached on the phone said, “We’ve only got two officers on duty today and we’re overbooked. By the time we get someone out there, he’ll probably be long gone.”

I had opened the door. The rooster was now staring back at me, intently.

“Is there any way you can keep him there?”, the dispatcher continued.

Note closely that the dispatcher hadn’t ask me to “catch” the rooster; that was just Strongly Implied. I knew this routine. My previous encounters with Animal Control have taught me that they don’t want to incur liability should a caller get injured handling an animal themselves.

“Uh, sure. I’ll try,” I replied.

“Thanks. Call back and let us know what happens. There have been two roosters in your area causing havok. We caught one of them; this sounds like his ‘brother’.”

I’m not rooster wrangler, so what I could I possibly do? Flashbacks of the vivid cockfighting scenes in Alex Haley’s “Roots” raced through my mind as we tenatively approached him with a bathroom towel. Would this end with a chalk outline of my body sprawled down the stairway? Would I end up a line item in the world “Fatality By Chicken” index?

The towel finally startled him and with a squawk he took the air and “flew”, in so much as chickens do, over to the neighbor’s stairway, landing with a muffled thunk against the railing.

By now I had attracted the attention of a neighbor. “Is that your rooster?” she asked.

She told me how she had just arrived home and found her porch a mess of bird droppings and scratch marks. “We though maybe a dog had chased a pigeon into our yard. We’ve been gone over the weekend. He must have been there the whole time.”

“Nope, I have no idea where he’s from,” I said. “Actually,” I paused, “I think he’s one of the mystery roosters that I hear crowing from the yards of one of my backyward neighbors. I’ve never been able to tell from exactly where, though.”

I called Animal Control to let them know that, alas, the rooster got away (and was no longer My Problem). I wished them the Best Of Luck.

“Ok, well, we’ll send someone out. Maybe he’ll still hang around, but I
doubt it,” said the dispatcher.

After hanging up I looked back to the bottom of my neighbor’s stairway and the rooster wasn’t there. Instead, he had walked up the stairs and nestled himself in a nook formed by the elongated railing.

“Do I really want to be a hero today?” I murmured to myself.

Catching a chicken is hard in an open space, but now there was a rare opportunity since he’d walled himself in on three sides. I sighed, picked up the towel, and walked up my neighbor’s staircase.

Cautiously, I approached with the towel fully stretched between my arms. I knew vaguely that I should try to hide my face lest he be startled the gaze of my primate, binocular, predator eyes. Peeking over the towel every now and then, however, I anthropomorphized a look of calm perplexity on his face.

Finally, I had stepped up all the way and covered the nook with the towel. He was trapped, but strangely to me, he was not alarmed. Are roosters really that dumb?

The first neighbor was back.

“You’ve got him?” She asked.

“Well, I’ve got him trapped,” I said.

“Just get the towel over his head and grab him over the wings.”, she offered, helpfully. “They calm down when you get them like that.”

I learned that she herself kept chickens in her backyard. “I hope he doesn’t get in with them,” she added.

Sure enough, using the extra courage afforded to me by the pair of gloves and protective eyewear that she ran back and got for me, I had the bird in my hands. I could not believe it.

“Genius,” said someone behind me. It was the neighbor who owned the stairway, who had opened her door during the time I had first gotten him trapped.

I placed the rooster bundle into a cat carrier and called Animal Control triumphantly.

“Randy,” as I will call him, is now at the shelter at 15th and Harrison streets. He will be held there for 5 days, at which point, I am happy to learn, he will be given to an animal rescue organization if unclaimed.

Please post his pictures so that he might be rescued.

PHOTOS: Neighbor Jeremy Cooper

Slacker Raccoon Invades Bernal Home, Plunders Cat Food, Takes Leisurely Nap

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Neighbor Rusty, who lives on the upper reaches of Treat on the north slope, recently played host to an uninvited guest, and his security camera captured the house party:

A raccoon came in through the cat door the other night while I was away. He spent about 5 minutes chowing down, then decided to chill out and finally WENT TO SLEEP for 30 minutes before leaving. (He then came back around 2 hours later for a second round of snacks, but only stayed for a few minutes that time.)

My cat seemed oblivious to the whole thing. Lazy cat!

I now have to keep the cat door locked at night.

On the bright side, Bernalwood sources say the raccoon left some very nice comments about Neighbor Rusty’s home on Airbnb.

PHOTO: Security camera images from Neighbor Rusty