Panel OKs 2nd Park for Off-Leash Dogs

TIMES STAFF WRITER

With little debate, the city Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to establish an off-leash dog exercise area in the Woodley Park area of the Sepulveda Basin.

Supporters hope the additional dog run will relieve congestion at Laurel Canyon Park along Mulholland Drive, the only city park where dogs are allowed to run unleashed.

But before dogs can run free in the Woodley Park exercise area, the City Council must allocate $23,000 for improvements, including $12,000 to fence in the three-acre site, $3,000 for a water fountain for people and a water spigot for dogs, and $5,000 for an irrigation system for the area. Since April, 1988, Laurel Canyon Park has been the site of a popular pilot program in which dogs are allowed to run free during certain hours. The council approved the dog park after a three-year controversy that began when Councilman Joel Wachs, who represented the area at the time, cracked down on unleashed pets in the park.

But the park attracted dog owners from all over the San Fernando Valley, prompting demands by dog owners to expand the program. The board is also considering the creation of a similar dog run in the Riverdale area of Griffith Park.

The new dog run will be in a grassy area south of the Sepulveda Basin archery range.

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