Dog owners demand more time at parks

ENCINITAS — Some dog owners are still up in arms over the limited hours set aside for off-leash activity by canines at city parks.
The city currently allows off-leash dogs from 6 to 7:30 a.m. and from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Viewpoint, Orpheus and Sun Vista parks. A trail segment between Encinitas Boulevard and Mountain Vista is also available for off-leash dogs from dusk to dawn.
Dog owner and activist Susie Cohen held a press conference Oct. 7 to garner attention to the plight of dog owners who she claims are treated unfairly. At least 18 dog owners received $445 tickets on July 31, when plain-clothes officers in unmarked cars entered four city parks after off-leash hours expired at 6 p.m. Cohen said many of the people who received tickets are senior citizens on fixed incomes and cannot afford to pay. “We think it (issuing tickets) was just done for the money,” she said.
Cohen said she would like to see a city policy that does not restrict hours or days for off-leash dogs at parks. “If the City Council would pass this it would make the tickets retroactive,” she claimed. Cohen also claimed that the City Council is delaying a vote. “It’s been four weeks (since the last public meeting discussing the issue). What are you doing?” she asked. Cohen competed for attention with at least 40 dogs that ran around the park during her presentation.
During a regular meeting Sept. 9, the council directed city staffers and the Parks and Recreation Commission to consider adding two locations for off-leash dogs to access, including Glen Park and Hawk View Park. It also directed staff to research whether increased hours were possible at the three current off-leash park locations.
At least two councilmen indicated support for creating separate off-leash dog areas from the general park. Councilmen Dan Dalager and Jerome Stocks said off-leash dogs should have their own area if possible.
Several dog owners support an all-access approach to off-leash dogs at city parks. Vickie Schipper was present at View Point park during the press conference with her service dog, Leo. “We need a place for them to play,” she said. Julie Rose, who received a ticket for having her dog, Shanti, off-leash after hours at the same park said she was granted an extension. She supports the idea of creating a separate area for dogs to play as well as extended hours and days at increased locations. “We have to go to a park every day because I don’t have a yard,” she said.
Dog owner Bob Shaughnessy said he brings his 3-year-old dog, Cody, to View Point park three days a week. He supports expanding the evening hours, especially in the winter. “It gets dark so early and there aren’t any lights here,” he said.

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  1. down the street says:

    if we get more hours, please people lets police ourselves. clean up the poop, watch out for kids etc.

  2. CSense1 says:

    I’ve never been to these parks, so I don’t know their layouts, but off leash dogs on the beach, street, etc can intimidate and be a nuisance to people who want to have a pleasant walk. Some people are afraid of dogs and have no idea of a specific dog’s temperament. Why should I have to move out of the way when I’m walking on the sidewalk or through the park? I feel that all dogs should be on a leash for public safety reasons. Why do you think there are lawyers who practice in dog bite law? The city shouldn’t cater to dog owners at the expense of everyone else who wants to have a leisurely stroll through the park. It’s already intimidating at the beach when dogs are off leash. If you don’t have a yard for your dog to exercise in, then don’t own a breed that requires vigorous exercise. I feel that too many municipalities are catering to dog owners over the general public. I support these tickets, even though I think the fine is excessive. Service dogs for the disables should be exempt.

  3. Mike Johnson says:

    How about a dog only park? I know one has been in the works for the Hall property but that has been delayed. Make dogs their own park and keep them away from children unless they are leashed.

  4. Chris Doctor says:

    We should boycott Encinitas financially
    And if men shop in Encinitas they should dress in drag
    Because Dog Raids Encinitas Style Suck
    & The S S in dress is the same as s s in nazi
    squads.

    No one buys Undercover dog raids but butt pirates

  5. Susie Cohen says:

    Dog owners are requesting Encinitas City Council put the issue of voting to expand Off Leash dog park hours on the calendar no later than the last Council meeting in October. Voting about an issue that happened last July 2009 is unacceptable.

    In the interest of making parks, doggie, kid and family friendly, kindly vote. We are all in this together.

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