In January, a Bird Rock resident approached La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc., with a proposal to turn a portion of La Jolla Bike Path into an off-leash dog park.
“We need a dog park in La Jolla and we don’t have one,” said Lisa Matthews, addressing community park planners Jan. 27. “People can only walk their dogs in our beautiful parks early in the morning and late in the evening. The nearest off-leash dog park on Fiesta Island is 27 minutes away and has foxtails that are a threat and dogs get dirty there and have to be washed afterward.”
Matthews gave a brief slideshow presentation showing the depleted condition of the large-dog area in another nearby fenced-in off-leash dog park, Capehart, located at the base of Mount Soledad.
“I was thinking of doing a GoFundMe but it would cost an estimated $600,000 to fix both large- and small-dog areas at Capehart, which is too much,” said Matthews. She added, “A dog park can blend into the natural environment. I’m here to get your feedback.”
“This is a very contentious issue and not just in La Jolla,” said LJPB President Ann Dynes. “It’s the number one most popular request to City Parks and Recreation Department.”
Dynes pointed out the city guidelines for creation of new dog parks are “an unbelievable 30 pages long.”
“Dogs on leashes are for the protection of the dog as much as for the protection of people,” noted LJPB board member Dr. Jane Reldan.
Board colleague John Shannon pointed out an aggressive dog(s) can wreak havoc in an off-leash dog park.
“This location is not optimal,” contended LJPB board member Sally Miller, disclosing she lives adjacent to the Fay Avenue bike trail. “For the past 30 years, I’ve been trying to protect this path from it becoming a bike freeway, a dog park or a skate park. This is an open area that already has a lot of people using it daily as an off-leash area.”
Added Miller, “You will have parking issues, as 90% of the parking in the area is taken up by schools, and neighbors don’t want to be fighting the parking and noise problems.”
Board member Mary Ellen Morgan had a different take on finding new off-leash space for canines.
“My suggestion is you do a private dog park where La Jolla dog owners pay a fee and have a key card [for access]. A pay-as-you-go dog park could have an attendant there to patrol, and you wouldn’t have neighbors’ resistance.”