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Leashed dogs now allowed at city parks

SOLANA BEACH  — Although they have been going there for years, dogs will soon be permitted on city properties such as the Coastal Rail Trail and La Colonia and Fletcher Cove parks.

Council members voted unanimously at the Jan. 25 meeting to allow leashed canines at most popular recreation areas throughout Solana Beach except on beaches.

During a recent review of regulatory signs, city staff noticed restrictions on dogs are outdated.

“The reality is that people are walking their dogs (where they’re not permitted) all the time,” City Manager David Ott said. “That seems to be a very common practice and has been for years. We haven’t taken a real strong stance on that.”

Even though dogs weren’t permitted in certain public areas, the rules weren’t enforced as long as they were on a leash and well-behaved and owners picked up after them, Ott said.

“We take a strong stance on off their leashes,” Ott said. “If we see them off their leash we always ask for voluntary compliance first,” he said.

Councilwoman Lesa Heebner admitted it could be confusing for pet owners since there are dispensers along the rail trail for bags to pick up dog waste.

Mayor Joe Kellejian said he was concerned about allowing dogs during crowded events such as the annual Fiesta del Sol.

Ott said people usually bring dogs to that event and it hasn’t created any problems.

He said the city could prohibit canines at large events but there would have to be justification.

Ott also said owners are pretty diligent about picking up after their pets.

“We don’t have a lot of droppings around,” he said.

As part of the ordinance, which will likely go into effect in March, time restrictions were also removed at Tide Park.