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Santa Monica considering dog beach, the second in L.A. County

October 24, 2011 |  4:41 pm

Dog beach
Santa Monica officials are throwing pet lovers a bone with a proposal to let dogs to run loose in the sand and surf.

The City Council on Tuesday will consider working with the state to establish a pilot off-leash dog zone at the beach.

The idea was championed by Unleash the Beach, one of several Los Angeles-area groups that have campaigned for more space on the sand for dogs. Rosie's Dog Beach, a three-acre zone in Long Beach, is the only stretch of coastline in Los Angeles County where canines can legally run off-leash.

Dog lovers face an uphill battle because a California code prohibits unleashed dogs on state beaches without an order from a California State Parks superintendent. The agency, which owns Santa Monica State Beach, has vowed to oppose any efforts to relax the rules and allow dogs on the sand, citing concerns about safety, cleanliness and the environment.

Water quality groups also worry that dog feces could pollute beach water and sicken swimmers.

INTERACTIVE: Guide to Southern California's off-leash dog beaches

Dog owners say it is a matter of fairness, that L.A. County's 75- mile coastline should have more the one place for their dogs to romp in the sand. They have asked for a small patch of sand to use on a trial basis in order to prove they can be clean and responsible.

The proposal by Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tempore Gleam Davis and Councilman Terry O'Day would include environmental monitoring of the beach and the water during the pilot program.

"I want to see what we can do to find a way to make this work," O'Day told the Santa Monica Daily Press. "Obviously, there are a lot of folks in the community who would like to see it happen."

--Tony Barboza

Photo: Chester stands on his hind legs to catch a ball at Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach in August. Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times