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A dog about to chase after a toy that was just thrown by the dogs owner. Photo by Melissa Doroquez courtesy of WikiMedia
A dog about to chase after a toy that was just thrown by the dogs owner. Photo by Melissa Doroquez courtesy of WikiMedia
Community CommentaryOpinion

What’s the point of Dog Beach?

On June 23, I took my 3-year-old daughter and my dog to “Dog Beach” in Del Mar.  I’m used to the beach being pretty full of dogs and dog owners.

I was surprised to see only a few dogs when we got there at 10 a.m.   Then I saw the sign requiring dogs to be on a leash.  This is the new “Summer Law” at “Dog Beach.”

Ahh, I thought.

That’s why there are no dogs.  What’s the point of “Dog Beach” if the dog can’t play in the waves, swim, or run around with other dogs?

I noted however that the few other dogs on the beach were not leashed at 10 a.m.

So I went with the flow and left my dog off of his leash.

I had a great 45 minutes of fun swimming with my 3-year-old and with our dog running along with us on the beach (he doesn’t swim).

Around 11 a.m. the lifeguard came on duty and told everyone that the dogs needed to be leashed.

I put the leash on our dog and quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to corral my 3-year-old in the waves while I held a leashed in dog my other hand.

So we left.

Similarly, all the other dog owners put their dogs on their leashes — and left.  Like me, I think everyone realizes that having your dog on a leash at “Dog Beach” is pointless.  If the dog needs to be on a leash, like everywhere else in public, then why would I get in my car and drive him to “Dog Beach”?

It’s easier to just put his leash on at home and walk him through the neighborhood or to a nearby park.

It’s sad to think that this stretch of beach, which used to have dozens of dogs and dog owners typically enjoying the day, is now empty.

Like so much in our society done in the name of “safety,” I suppose some people were nervous about a large number of unleashed dogs and wanted this rule.

This is despite the fact that there are 20 other miles of beach and parks in North County where dogs are not allowed at all and those nervous folks could simply go there.

In reality, I suspect the rule might have been made for the benefit of some rich whiny millionaire homeowners whose beach front properties are seemingly devalued when their ocean view is mucked up by a bunch of barking dogs.

The bottom line is that if safety was the issue, the rule has succeeded.

Not because the dogs on “Dog Beach” are now on a leash and under control, but because there are no dogs anymore at  “Dog Beach.”

Something that was unique and cool about North County has been lost, and we have another stretch of sanitized beach that’s just like every other stretch of beach in the United States.

Welcome to our cookie-cutter society.


Eric Ransavage is a Leucadia resident.


Aaron July 14, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Del Mar’s rules are actually pretty generous. You are only restricted from off-leash for 2.5 months out of the year!

While most owners are great, some really ruin it. Every day I am on the beach and see dog crap that wasn’t picked up by their owners – even during the summer! In fact, the city has employees come by at least once a day year-round to clean up after inconsiderate owners. It’s frustrating and disgusting. Police your own people and if you see poop, pick it up!

Maybe you should look to getting your own communities to change their rules instead of complaining about Del Mar’s, which is off-leash 9.5 months of the year! If Del Mar didn’t have to support dog owners from so much of North County, maybe their rules would be more lax.

Mandy Barre July 13, 2015 at 8:10 pm

The point is to make this beach available during the very, very popular summer months to human beings. Stop complaining and enjoy the beach most of the rest of the year, ok? It’s lucky to even have a dog beach in the North County.

Esteban Llaves July 3, 2015 at 1:32 pm

Eric, you are spot on here! It’s pandering by the Del Mar City Council. That’s who has to change this ridiculous law. Unfortunately, that’s not too likely. They have people to appease. The relatively empty beach will show you the de facto truth of this pandering law: Way fewer people go there. Head count, anyone?

Beverly Young July 3, 2015 at 8:23 am

I totally agree with you, Eric. Why even have a so called dog beach if your dog must be on a leash.
We used to drive from Oceanside so our dog could have some unleashed fun there.
Yes, there are plenty of beaches to go to if one doesn’t like dogs

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