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Council Squashes Dog Beach Idea

The city council decided to steer clear of changing beach laws to allow dogs.

Despite pleas from over a dozen locals to allow dogs on Capitola Beach, the Capitola City Council decided to maintain a current ordinance keeping canines off the sand on Thursday evening.

Twenty people spoke during the meeting, 14 for and six against allowing dogs on the beach. While the public comment section of the issue lasted over an hour, it took under 15 minutes of deliberation from the council to kill the issue completely. 

Plenty of people made their case for changing the current laws. Many argued for letting local dogs use the local beach instead of going elsewhere, trusting the responsible dog-owning portion of the population, and zoning Hooper's Beach specifically for dogs.

But those on the opposite side of the fence cited the danger of dog bites, feces and the need for separation of human and animal.

Ultimately, the council was united behind the fact that Capitola Beach is simply too small to allow dogs and to expect any comprimise of leash, hours or zones to work in a practical fashion.

"I don't think the city needs that kind of controversy," Councilmember Dennis Norton said. "You cannot possibly separate Hooper's Beach from the main beach."

Councilmember Stephanie Harlan backed Norton up, apologetic that the local government can not accomodate the dog-loving population on the beach.

"A lot of people want a lot of things in Capitola and in 2.5 square miles, we can't do everything, unfortunately," she said.

Mayor Mike Termini and Norton both mentioned looking more seriously at putting a dog park elsewhere in town, likely on the .

Harlan requested that planning for a dog park anywhere be postponed until at least the summer, when there is a clearer perspective on the city's financial position.

The issue required no vote, as there was no change to the existing ordinance. And while some complained that this issue has been solved in the past and shouldn't be rehashed repeatedly (Councilmember Kirby Nicol called it the same issue with just "a new set of people and a new herd of dogs") Termini maintained that facilitating conversations on hot topics is part of the democratic process.

What do you think of the council's decision? Are you happy that the beach will remain dog-free? Do you wish you could bring your dog down to the beach? Tell us in the comments!

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Corinne Speckert April 15, 2012 at 03:43 AM
That's a nice lookin' pooch :)

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