Santa Monica considers dog beach; environmental worries linger

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Santa Monica officials are weighing a proposal to let dogs to run loose in the sand and surf, but it may run into opposition from the state, which has vowed to oppose relaxing rules to let dogs run free on the sand because of cleanliness and environmental concerns.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider working with the state to establish a pilot off-leash dog zone at the beach.


The idea was championed by Unleash the Beach, one of several Los Angeles-area groups that have campaigned for more space on the sand for dogs. Rosie’s Dog Beach, a three-acre zone in Long Beach, is the only stretch of coastline in Los Angeles County where canines can legally run off-leash.

Dog lovers face an uphill battle because a California code prohibits unleashed dogs on state beaches without an order from a California State Parks superintendent. The agency owns Santa Monica State Beach.

Water quality groups also worry that dog feces could pollute beach water and sicken swimmers.

INTERACTIVE: Guide to Southern California’s off-leash dog beaches

Dog owners say it is a matter of fairness, that L.A. County’s 75- mile coastline should have more the one place for their dogs to romp. They have asked for a small patch of sand to use on a trial basis in order to prove they can be clean and responsible.

For more, see L.A.Now

--Tony Barboza

Photo: The scene at Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach. Credit: Genaro Molina/ Los Angeles Times