OCEANSIDE — A growing number of residents say it’s time the city has a dog beach of its own, while other residents don’t want dogs on the beach at all.
Over the last few weeks, an online petition has been gathering signatures in support of creating a seasonal dog beach in the northern part of the city. Resident Paul Perkins, who made the Change.org petition, has so far attracted more than 2,200 signatures.
Currently, the only other cities with dog beaches in San Diego County are in Del Mar, Ocean Beach and Coronado, which means Oceanside residents who want to let their dogs off their leashes on the beach must drive 20 or more miles away to do so.
The petition proposes to put a dog beach in North Oceanside between the two jetties stretching from the entrance to the harbor to the San Luis Rey River.
The proposed dog beach would allow dogs off-leash and would be open during seasonal hours similar to the schedule at Del Mar’s North Beach, nicknamed “Dog Beach.” Those in favor of the North Oceanside beach location believe the spot is ideal due to its location to bathrooms, parking and playground.
The goal for supporters is to make Oceanside a “premiere city” for offering a dog beach in the region. With a dog beach, they say, the city could help keep visitors in Oceanside rather than send them further down south to experience another city’s dog beach.
“When we bring our dog to the beach in Del Mar, we spend a good part of the day there going shopping and eating,” said resident Kevin Jacobs. “I’d much rather spend my money in Oceanside.”
Councilmembers Kori Jensen and Christopher Rodriguez brought the item to Council for consideration on Dec. 16. The two council members proposed having staff study the possibility of implementing a dog beach along with its effort to explore more dog park options throughout Oceanside.
“I’ve had a lot of emails from people wanting to have a dog beach,” Jensen said. “I think it’s something we need to look into.”
Not everyone is completely sold on the idea of having a dog beach, however.
Mark Warr, who manages vacation rentals near the proposed north beach location, believes a dog beach would create less demand for his rentals and harm property value. Warr also believes having a dog beach would harm the water quality and increase bacterial levels due to more dog waste being left behind.
“I don’t believe dogs belong on the beach due to those reasons,” Warr said.
Fellow resident Carolyn Kramer agreed with Warr, noting that the cities of San Clemente and Newport Beach recently voted down dog beaches.
Those in support of having a dog beach offered to maintain the park to make sure it remains as spotless as possible.
Others who were opposed to the dog beach proposal, like Mayor Esther Sanchez, noted Oceanside’s dwindling beaches as another reason not to have one.
“Our beaches are disappearing,” Sanchez said. “We don’t even have enough beaches for our residents and visitors.”
Perkins explained that the dog beach doesn’t have to be big, plus he and other supporters are still in favor of exploring other options along the beach as well.
“All we’re asking for is a little slice of beach… to let our dogs run off-leash,” Perkins said.
Council narrowly approved its direction for staff to look into the possibility of a dog beach with a 3-2, with Sanchez and Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim opposed.