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Castro merchants decry 'routine' vandalism

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After a chilly weekend, it was a beautiful, warm Monday morning in the Castro. A promising start to the week, unless you happen to own Mudpuppy's.The night before, March 6, someone smashed the large plate glass windows of the 10-year-old dog grooming shop, which hung over the holding pens where their canine clients await their turn with their groomers.

By Monday morning, two workmen were busy installing new windows. Inside, co-owner Todd Ahlberg was feeling frustrated with what was only the latest in an ongoing stream of vandalism on Castro Street that have become seemingly routine. "If there had been a dog in the window, they'd have been killed," said Ahlberg, a gay San Francisco native.

He had heard the attack - and Ahlberg feels strongly it was an attack - from his apartment upstairs above the shop. Running downstairs, he saw who he said was a man he recognized throwing benches from a neighboring ice cream shop into his storefront.

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