It’s a “NO” for Santa Monica Dog Beach

SoCal and L.A. residents hoping for the second dog beach zone for L.A. County’s 75-mile coastline will have to wait some more. State Parks representatives last week cited risks to habitat and health in opposing an off-leash zone, and all but guaranteed there was “no chance” of opening a second canine-friendly stretch of seashore in Los Angeles.

Urged on by the advocacy group Unleash the Beach, the City Council voted last month to work with the state to establish a pilot off-leash dog zone in Santa Monica, but a subsequent meeting between Santa Monica city staffers and representatives of California State Parks, which owns Santa Monica State Beach, vetoed the pilot program.

California law prohibits unleashed dogs on state beaches without an order from a state parks superintendent. The agency remains firmly opposed to relaxing the rules, citing risks that dogs would pose to threatened species, habitat, beach-goers and other dogs.

The state also has raised concerns about the health and environmental effects of dog droppings. Water-quality groups also oppose a dog beach that extends into the surf, saying dog feces would pollute beach water and sand and sicken swimmers.

“Adding a new source of fecal bacteria to our local beaches doesn’t make any sense in these financially challenging times,” Heal the Bay President Mark Gold, although a dog owner, wrote on his blog.

Santa Monica taxpayers have spent millions of dollars cleaning up local beaches (over $2.5 million on the successful Santa Monica Pier cleanup alone.

So, for now, dog lovers must solely rely on Rosie’s Dog Beach, a 3-acre zone in Long Beach. It is the only place along L.A. county’s coastline where canines can legally run off-leash.

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