Park Goes (for Good) to Dogs


Laurel Canyon Park was permanently designated a part-time, leash-free dog park--the city's first--by the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission on Monday, but champions of canine rights still used the occasion to scold the city for ignoring pet owners' needs.

The commission action ended a two-year experiment in letting dogs run free at the Laurel Canyon facility, located just south of Mulholland Drive in Councilman Michael Woo's district.

Under the program approved Monday, the hours of leash-free use of the park are unchanged: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. until park closing daily. At other times, dogs must be leashed.

Before the vote, two leaders of the fight to make Laurel Canyon Park a haven for free-running dogs criticized the city.

Jane Purse, a founder of ParkWatch, a pro-dog group, said Laurel Canyon should be seen as a "model for other parks." The city, Purse said, still has not funded construction of a fence around Woodley Park so that the facility can also be made into a dog park.

Kathy Doyle, another ParkWatch member, charged that the city was far behind other cities in meeting the needs of dog owners. San Francisco, she said, has 28 dog parks.

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