Do San Clemente’s dogs deserve a beach?
The council is considering a proposal to let dogs run without a leash, from 4 to 10 a.m., on part of a city beach, between Dije Court and Mariposa Point, for a one-year trial period.
In addition, it’s looking at allowing leashed dogs in every city park, except for playgrounds, sports fields and areas with synthetic-turf, according to the Orange County Register.
The issue is expected to draw a crowd at Tuesday’s City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
San Clemente dog owners feel like “their dogs are prisoners in the city … it’s either the sidewalk or the street or their yard,” said Don Slater, founder of Friends of San Clemente Dog Beach. The organization has printed 2,000 fliers, urging supporters of a dog beach to email the five City Council members in advance and testify at Tuesday’s meeting. The city’s lone dog park gets too crowded, Slater said. “They can chase a ball or roam around,” he said, “but they can’t play in the ocean.”
Desperate Paws of Orange County, a dog club that claims more than 1,100 members, has already written to the City Council asking for longer hours at the proposed dog beach. The club’s founders, Stephen and Brandi Terry, suggest unrestricted hours from the last Saturday of October until the last Saturday of April and, in the warmer months, 4 to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to dark.
The Terrys say San Clemente is missing out on tourist dollars by not allowing dogs on the beach, and point to Huntington Beach’s dog beach — where dogs have been allowed for more than a decade — as an example of how dog friendliness can increase revenue for the city and local businesses.
San Clemente’s Coastal Advisory Committee voted 5-2 to oppose a dog beach. The city’s Beaches, Parks & Recreation Commission supports a limited hours experiment, though on a different beach.
Parks Commissioner Eric Swartz says the city could be held liable for dog bites, and other opponents say that San Clemente’s limited beach space is too precious to allow dogs to use it.
Commissioner Tom Wicks countered that the benefits of a dog beach outweigh the concerns and argued that households with dogs have rights too.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, area, beach, california, city council, coast, coastal, dog, dog beach, dogs, hours, huntington beach, leash free, limited, orange county, parks, pets, recreation, san clemente, unleashed