Volunteers who have been helping keep Dog Beach clean of dog waste say canine owners are being unfairly ticketed for allowing their dogs to roam freely near the surf.
Within the last week, several owners have been issued $80 citations for allowing their dogs off leashes. A city ordinance requires dogs to be leashed at all times regardless of where they are on the beach which extends just south of Bolsa Chica State Beach.
"This is a disappointing development," said Martin Senat, president of Dog Beach Preservation Society, a group of volunteers who joined together in December to clean the beach after the city threatened to close it.
Marine Safety Lt. Stephen Davidson said the citations are not part of any crackdown and occurred after repeated warnings to dog owners. "We have an ordinance. If dog owners don't follow it, they will be issued a citation," he said.
Community Services director Ron Hagan said volunteers would like to change the ordinance to allow dogs off leash between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. but until that happens, dogs must be leashed at all times.