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L.A. City Council Votes to Allow Dog Runs in Parks

The Los Angeles City Council gave tentative approval Friday to an ordinance to permit establishment of dog runs in city parks.

The measure, approved 11-0 without discussion, was introduced by Councilman Joel Wachs in response to a dispute centering on a park in his district in which owners let their dogs run free.

The tiny Laurel Canyon Park at the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains has been the scene of confrontations between dog owners who let their pets run and animal-control officers sent there to enforce the leash law. Wachs requested the increased enforcement because of complaints from park users that the loose dogs interfered with their enjoyment of the park.

No specific parks have been proposed for the city’s first dog runs. If the ordinance wins final approval next week as expected and is signed by Mayor Tom Bradley, it will authorize the city Recreation and Parks Commission to decide the locations and sizes of dog runs and whether they should be fenced.

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Commissioners have previously expressed their intention to set aside part of Laurel Canyon Park as a dog run.

Wachs has yet to commit himself on whether he will support a dog run in that park. He has said that at least four dog runs should be established over the city.

There are about 200,000 licensed dogs in the city but not one park where they can run free legally.

Wachs has recommended that the city consider imposing a 50-cent surcharge on dog licenses, the money to be used to maintain the dog runs.

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