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    Council OK's "Dog Zone" On Part Of Belmont Shore Beach; One Year Pilot Program Starts In August; We Post Details

    (June 18, 2003) -- The City Council has voted unanimously to approve a one-year pilot program creating a "Dog Zone" that permits limited beach access for dogs on part of a Belmont Shore beach. The unanimous Council vote at its June 17 meeting is expected to be followed by a second vote in early July...with a Dog Zone ordinance taking effect in early August. posts the Dog Zone ordinance verbatim, below.

    The Dog Zone will be roughly 235 yards long and 60 yards deep (from the waterline) between Roycroft Ave. on the west to Argonne Ave. on the east. The "Dog Zone's" regular hours (Sept. through and including June) will be 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m...and from Memorial Day to Labor Day 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    The Dog Zone pilot program will be in effect seven days a week. City Hall can (of course) terminate or alter the program, if warranted.

    Council approval of the one year pilot program represents another victory for LB public relations and internet whiz Justin Rudd, whose "Haute Dogs" events generated public (and political) support for the concept.

    Justin Rudd @ Council, June 17/03
    Screen save courtesy: HTTV, cable channel 21
    At the Council meeting, Mr. Rudd brought a "petition" with the paw "signatures" of what he said were hundreds of dogs would couldn't attend the proceedings but supported the pilot program.

    City staff gave Councilmembers an agendized supportive memo with an attachment describing the Dog Zone's general premise as follows:

    In providing the Dog Zone, the City is permitting unsupervised, off-leash, and unfenced beach access for dogs and their owners in a specified area during specified times. Dog owners are entirely responsible for their dog’s actions, and accept the risk of allowing their dog to interact with people, other dogs, existing beach conditions, and City vehicles. The City accepts no responsibility for the behavior of dogs, dog owners, or general beach patrons.

    The attachment addressed several issues including:

    Off-leash vs. leashed use: "City staff noted that "Off-leash access is what is currently occurring with the "Haute Dogs" events, and it is what has been requested for the pilot program. A leash requirement (within the designated area) will reduce the interest in the proposed pilot program. Many dog owners commented that a leash requirement would change the dynamics of the experience to the point that it would not be worthwhile to participate. Furthermore, the Recreation Dog Park Association believes that a leashed dog will sometimes act more aggressively than when unleashed. Accordingly, City staff and the [Marine Advisory Committee] are supportive of off-leash access at the outset of the pilot program."

    Part-time vs. full-time access: "Since there is no beach area that can be specifically dedicated for dogs, any plan to provide dog access must strive to minimize the potential impacts to other beach uses. For this reason, part-time (limited hours) access is being proposed for the pilot program. Alterations to the specific schedule of access can be made as experience dictates."

    Supervised vs. unsupervised: "The City does not have the resources to supervise dog beach access, nor is it believed to be a viable proposition. Only dog owners can control their dogs, and self-regulation is a necessity. This is consistent with the operation of the Recreation Park Dog Park."

    The Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Marine estimates costs of signage, dispensers, and printing to be $2,000, with the cost of additional water quality testing for the duration of the pilot program estimated at $2,500...all funded through existing appropriation in the Tidelands Operations Fund. Existing staff will monitor the pilot program.

    Assuming Council approval of the ordinance in a second reading in early July, the Dog Zone pilot program is expected to begin in early August.

    History and background

    The City staff's memo indicates that in August 2002, Vice Mayor Frank Colonna requested that the City Manager develop a proposal for a pilot program to evaluate the potential for permanent beach access for dogs, prompted (a city memo attachment indicates) "by hundreds of e-mails received by City officials and staff from Long Beach residents expressing support for a permanent beach access for dogs. Reasons given for dog access included the desire for a place on the beach where people can exercise and recreate with their dogs, allowing them to positively interact with other dogs, the ability of LB dog owners to recreate in LB instead of traveling to the Huntington Beach Dog Beach...and the success of monthly "Haute Dogs" events on the beach.

    After the pilot program proposal was floated at a September 2002 meeting of the Marine Advisory Commission (at Lowell Elementary School, attended by more than 100 people), and some modifications were made, the Marine Advisory Commission OK'd the pilot program in October '02.

    Among the rules:

  • Dogs are not permitted on the beach at any time other than the scheduled hours, or at any place other than the Dog Zone and direct access to and from it;
  • The Dog Zone must be accessed from the adjacent parking lot in a 90-degree angle to the marked boundaries;
  • Dog owners must possess a leash for the dog that shall be worn by the dog at all times that the dog is outside of the Dog Zone;
  • Each dog must be under the control of an adult, and only one dog per adult is permitted. The dog must be under visual and voice control by the owner at all times;
  • Dog owners shall use a suitable container or instrument to remove dog feces and shall dispose of it in waste containers provided for that purpose;
  • All dogs must wear a collar with current tags. Current vaccinations and licenses are required;
  • Professional dog trainers may not use the Dog Zone to conduct classes or individual instruction;
  • Aggressive dogs are not permitted; and
  • Children shall be accompanied by an adult.

    Additional rules and regulations are specified in the proposed ordinance, which we post below.

    Dog Poop

    Concerning the issue of dog waste, city management said water quality is tested every week by LB Health Dept. staff and "[n]o negative impacts attributable to the monthly "Haute Dogs" events have ever been recorded. However, to better evaluate the immediate effects of one of these events, a testing protocol was implemented by the City’s Health Department for the event that took place on Sunday, March 30, 2003...Water sampling was conducted for five days in the area of the event - two days before the event, the day of the event, and two days after the event. Samples were taken from seven locations within the 235-yard stretch of the proposed Dog Zone."

    The memo material indicates, "Based on the results of the testing, the Health Department concluded that the presence of dogs on the beach did not appear to have any effect on the levels of the three indicator bacteria. City staff recognizes that dog access to the beach via the proposed Dog Zone will be different than that permitted under the monthly event. However, as approximately 300 dogs (with their owners) participate in these events, it is reasonable to assume that dog waste, if removed, will not impact water quality."

    The memo adds, "The removal of dog waste, or the lack thereof, will likely be the key determinant of the success of the pilot program. The pilot program will be altered, or terminated, if it is determined that dog access to the beach is having a detrimental effect on the water quality of our shoreline. The following actions and procedures will be taken to ensure that dog waste does not impact water quality:

  • Additional trash containers and bag dispensers will be placed in the area;
  • Educational and maintenance efforts will be undertaken by the Recreation Dog Park Association;
  • Beach maintenance staff will monitor the levels of non-disposed dog waste;
  • Use of the Dog Zone will be monitored periodically. Dog owners observed not picking up their dog’s waste will be cited, if observed; and
  • Water testing will be continuous. Sample collection points already exist at Prospect and Granada Avenues. A third collection point in the center of the Dog Zone (Park Avenue) will be added.

    And if dog owners don't obey the rules, "[c]itations may be written by Animal Control Officers, Police Officers, Marine Patrol Officers, Park Rangers, and Lifeguards. A cooperative approach will be developed to monitor user compliance on a periodic basis. Additionally, the Recreation Dog Park Association will serve as stewards, fostering a sense of responsibility and goodwill among Dog Zone users.

    The memo notes:

    "City staff cannot guarantee that there will be no incidents of injury to people or dogs. However, emergency and incident reporting procedures have been developed and will be specified on the main Dog Zone sign. An emergency phone is located at the entrance to the Granada Launch Ramp on Ocean Blvd.

    Members of the public have asked if there would be liability problems for the City as a result of the Dog Zone. This should not be the case absent City personnel doing something that is affirmatively dangerous. Liability would not result to the City from the mere fact that such an area existed and there was some injury from a dog. Still the level of complaints about injury from dogs in this area should be monitored and remedial action taken if necessary."

    City staff says that prior to the conclusion of the pilot program, Parks, Recreation and Marine staff in consultation with other departments and Vice Mayor Colonna will evaluate the program based on the following criteria:

  • Degree of user compliance to rules and regulations;
  • Frequency and cost of emergency response;
  • Incidence of confrontation and injury;
  • Impact on beach and water quality;
  • Impact on other beach uses;
  • Impact on area residents (Le., parking, noise); and
  • The continued support of the Marine Advisory Commission.

    "As previously noted, the Director of Parks, Recreation and Marine will have the discretion to suspend or terminate the pilot program prior to its scheduled conclusion if there is a preponderance of violations or negative impacts," the city staff memo said.

    Ordinance Text



    The City Council of the City of Long Beach ordains as follows:

    Section 1. Section 6.1 6.31 0 is added to the Long Beach Municipal Code to read as follows:

    6.16.310 Dog Exercise Area on the Beach. Notwithstanding any other Ordinance or Rule of the City of Long Beach, dogs may be permitted, during the below mentioned times of day, on that part of the beach of the City of Long Beach bounded between the halfway point between Argonne and St. Joseph Avenues (the eastern boundary) and the halfway point between Roycroft and Quincy Avenues (the eastern boundary) from the waterline to the designated boundary markers located approximately 60 yards from the water line (the northern boundary) to be designated by appropriate posting by the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine. Dogs are permitted on this designated part of the beach for the purpose of exercise. The hours that dogs may be so on the beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day are between 6:OO a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and between the hours of 6:OO p.m to 8:OOpm. The hours that dogs may be so on the beach are in the months September through and including June are between 6:OO a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:OO p.m. to 6:OO p.m. This Ordinance shall be in effect for a period of 365 days from the date of final enactment by the City Council of the City of Long Beach. Permission for dogs to be on this designated area of the beaches of the City of Long Beach may be revoked at any time by the Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine by appropriate posting at the designated area mentioned above.

    With regard to said use of this designated part of the beach of the City of Long Beach:

    A. The dog exercise area must be accessed from adjacent parking lot in 90-degree angle to the marked boundaries of the dog exercise area.

    B. Each dog must be under the control of an adult, and only one dog per adult is permitted. The dog must be under visual and voice control by ownedguardian at all times. Dogs that do not respond to voice commands are not permitted.

    C. All dogs must wear a collar with current tags.

    D. All dogs must have current vaccinations and licenses.

    E. As a condition of admission to such dog exercise area, the ownedguardian of such dog shall use a suitable container or instrument to remove dog feces and shall dispose of it in waste containers provided for that purpose.

    F. Aggressive dogs are not permitted. Owners are legally responsible for any injury caused by their dogs.

    G. Dogs shall not be left unattended.

    H. Dogs under four (4) months old are not permitted.

    I. Female dogs in heat are not permitted.

    J. Professional dog trainers may not use the dog exercise area to conduct classes or individual instruction.

    K. Children shall be accompanied by an adult and shall not run, shout, scream, wave their arms, or othetwise excite or antagonize dogs.

    L. Bicycles, roller blades, roller skates, skateboards, strollers, and the like, are not permitted. Wheelchairs and other aids for the disabled are permitted.

    M. Spiked collars on dogs are not permitted.

    N. The ownerlguardian of a dog must have in hidher possession a leash for the dog which shall be worn by the dog at all times that the dog is ingressinglegressing the dog exercise area.

    0. Dog owners/guardians shall provide drinking water for their dogs.

    P. No food of any kind is permitted in the dog exercise area during the designated hours.

    Q. Dog ownerslguardians shall otherwise comply with all rules governing the beaches and relevant parking regulations.

    R. No one shall play any team sport including but not limited to football, baseball, soccer, rugby and volleyball during the designated dog exercise hours. The use of a frisbee or a small, retrievable ball is permitted.

    S. Use of the dog exercise area by the dog shall constitute implied consent of the dog's owner to all regulations and shall constitute a waiver of liability to the City of Long Beach and an agreement to protect, defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the City of Long Beach, its officials and employees for any injury or damage caused by a dog when the dog is not on a leash.

    T. The Director of Parks, Recreation and Marine shall have the discretion to terminate the pilot program prior to its scheduled conclusion.

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