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Huntington Beach: One of America's dog-friendliest cities (except on Tuesday nights)

November 11, 2009 | 12:52 pm

One of Orange County's most favored spots for dogs and their owners is Huntington Beach, known as one of the most dog-friendly spots in Southern California. But a storm is brewing there over one local event at which dogs are distinctly unwelcome. Our colleague Dana Parsons got to the bottom of the dog-friendly debate in a recent story from The Times' Out There series; here's an excerpt:

Surf dogNobody would ever call Huntington Beach anti-dog. Far from it.

The city has a mile-plus stretch of beach where dogs can frolic, catch some rays and, if they're of a mind to, surf. A cafe in a city park has a dog menu. At least two major hotels provide doggy beds. It has a great veterinarian-to-dog ratio. The city takes to dogs like Seattle does to clouds.

No surprise, then, that Huntington Beach is the reigning "DogTown USA" among mid-sized cities, as chosen this year by Dog Fancy magazine.

But there is the matter of Tuesday nights on Main Street.

Signs posted now inform man's best friends that they are canine non grata between 5 and 9 p.m. Tuesdays, also known as "Surf City Nights."

Now in its third year, it's a weekly event at which farmers market vendors sell their goods next to restaurateurs and other merchants over a three-block area downtown and -- there's no way to put this nicely -- some folks just wish our four-legged friends would stay home for the evening.

It's nothing personal, insists Connie Pedenko, executive director of the Business Improvement District, a nonprofit group that oversees Surf Nights and has to keep city officials and vendors happy.


Photo: Christy Trujillo meets Leonidas, a 5-month-old bulldog, along Huntington Beach's Main Street as owner Mario Estrada looks on.  Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

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