Being a pet owner most of my life, I love the pet friendly attitude here in Encinitas CA where I live. However, the issue of off-leash dogs at local parks in Encinitas has recently set off a real dogfight in the community.
Complaints about Sheriff’s enforcement actions for loose dogs in area parks during non-“off leash” hours caused the city council to expand those hours at several local parks. “Off leash Hours” are the times that dog owners can let their pets roam leash free in designated parks. The council approved the action on a 4 to 1 vote.
Proponents of the new hours celebrated the extended hours citing years of loose dogs that have never led to a serious incident. Opponents say “Encinitas is going to the dogs”. They feel the extension was unnecessary and hampers the rights and freedom of non dogowners. Some local residents have even requested that the city consider fencing in loose dog areas to keep kids and loose dogs separate. Especially residents with small children, who aren’t comfortable letting their kids roll around in the grass because of the amount of dog poop that’s repeatedly deposited there, are up in arms over the expansion. They are particularly afraid of an incident that might be scary or even traumatizing for a young child.
So far, dog lovers have won. Orpheus, Sun Vista and Viewpoint Parks will begin the new “off leash” hours; 6:00 to 9 a.m. and 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sunday in Mid January 2010. Glen and Hawk View Parks will be considered for extension in the spring. Keep in mind, fines for having your dog off leash where or when it is not legal can cost as much as $445.00!