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Big Dog News: Parks and Rec Recommends Study of Off-Leash Hours for Mid-County Beaches

Resident Jerry Kay
Resident Jerry Kay
by Shae Stanley

After two hours of contentious debate the Santa Cruz County Parks and Recreation Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisor study setting aside times for dogs to be off leashes on the beaches between 20th Ave and Moran Lake year round from sunrise to 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

They also forwarded a proposal for fenced in dog areas. The County's Board of Supervisors will weigh the recommendations later in the year. The reports are due in April.

“Dog walking has saved my life," said David M. Silva, Santa Cruz resident since 1989. “We need to have leash free parks and beaches, no more debating-our proposal needs to be taken seriously, and I feel the commission isn’t taking it seriously.”

However, there were plenty of people against the proposal, including environmentalist Jean Brocklebank.

"The county is not in the business of suspending public safety laws," she said in an interview after the meeting. "We seem to have a sense of entitlement. We get whatever we want with no regard for the safety of others.”

LOOLA spokesperson Ted Coopman supported off-leash times.

“If nothing was an option, don’t you think we would have stuck with that. We will not be treated like a bunch of 3rd graders with a pat on the back and told to go away.”

Members of LOOLA have spent countless hours lobbying for support of their petition. LOOLA isn’t alone in their support of off-leash beaches. Their petition received 3,200 signatures before being presented to the Commission.

“I don’t know what the answer is. It’s not as simple as let’s just get together and come to an agreement and make that work.” said Commissioner Jim Lang. “There are not dogs out there ripping birds apart. There could have been a better solution, but tonight I don’t have that.”

After hearing arguments presented from both sides the Commission addressed Park Superintendant Gretchen Iliff to come to a conclusion and state their motion.

 “Our motion is to include the staff recommendations for an off-leash master plan,” said Commissioner Kate Minott.

Resident Jerry Kay said dogs would probably be on the beach, law or not.

“I don’t think there was any conclusion, we are going to be down there with our dogs. The opposition wants no trial, but that won’t keep us from letting our dogs run on the beach.” said Jerry Kay. 

Jean October 22, 2013 at 03:52 PM
This is a completely false report. No such vote took place at the meeting last night and nothing is going to the Board of Supervisors for a vote on April 14. This news story must be removed immediately.
Jean October 22, 2013 at 03:59 PM
On top of all the other mistakes (Park Manager Gretchen Iliff ???), I was misquoted. Back to the drawing board with this news story.
Michael A. Lewis October 22, 2013 at 04:03 PM
To read the correct and accurate story of last night's Parks and Recreation meeting, scroll down on the front page to Michael A. Lewis's Blog, or go to http://santacruz.patch.com/groups/michael-a-lewiss-blog/p/off-leash-dog-park-proposal-put-on-a-leash_82770b6e
Michael A. Lewis October 22, 2013 at 06:31 PM
This is still incorrect! The Commissioners did NOT "recommend that the Board of Supervisor study setting aside times for dogs to be off leashes on the beaches between 20th Ave and Moran Lake year round from sunrise to 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m." The proposal was for off leash dogs sunrise to sunset at the beach at 20th Avenue only, and the Commissioners did not recommend that the Board of supervisors study the proposal. The Board of Supervisors will NOT "weigh the recommendations later in the year." The Commissioners recommended that all parks in the County be studied as possible sites for off leash dog areas where appropriate. Let's get this right!
Michael A. Lewis October 27, 2013 at 12:35 PM
The Commissioners did NOT forward anything to the Board of Supervisors! The only action they took was to unanimously adopt the following motion: "Direct Staff to prepare initial criteria for off-leash dog areas and an initial review of County park and beach property inventory to identify possible opportunities for fenced and unfenced off leash areas in County parks, with a report back to the Commission no later than April 2014."

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