ENCINITAS — The city of Encinitas has extended off-leash dog hours in three of its parks.
Encinitas Viewpoint Park and Sun Vista Park will have off-leash hours from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Orpheus Park will have off-leash hours from 6 to 7:30 a.m. and 3 to 8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Orpheus Park Sunday off-leash hours are from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 8 p.m.
Dogs are allowed at all other city parks and trails when on a 6-foot leash, excluding beach access. Dogs are allowed on-leash only at the State Beach in Cardiff.
Dog owners in violation of city ordinances will be fined citations starting at $455. County animal control officers and Encinitas sheriffs will continue to patrol the dog-friendly areas.
The city of Encinitas set rules regarding dog access in order to keep its parks and wildlife habitat areas enjoyable and safe for all users.
“Many responsible dog owners may not realize the negative impact loose dogs can have on our wild land preserves both with disturbing or killing wildlife as well as damaging sensitive plant life,” said Dawn Danielson, director of San Diego county animal services.
Owners are asked to be especially cautious when taking their dogs through habitat conservations areas, like Manchester conservation area off Manchester Avenue.
“Dogs off leash tend to run off the designated trails into the native vegetation and are harmful to native habitats and species that live there,” said Jessie Vinje, preserve manager of the Manchester conservation area.
Many bird and mammal species will soon be breeding in the conservation areas, including a threatened species of bird, the Coastal California Gnatcatcher.
Dogs running loose in habitat areas are also at risk for rattlesnake bites or coyote encounters throughout the year.