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Rancho Palos Verdes Council Says 'No' to Dog Beach Pilot Program

Council members on Tuesday night vote to rescind a dog beach pilot program at Rancho Palos Verdes Beach.

Faced with fears of overwhelming popularity and concern for residents and local businesses, Rancho Palos Verdes City Council members Tuesday night voted to rescind a dog beach pilot program at Rancho Palos Verdes Beach.

The decision came after about 30 people, mostly Peninsula residents, spoke out both for and against the dog beach, which has long been used as an unofficial off-leash dog beach despite city ordinances that prohibit dogs on beaches and golf courses within the city.

Former councilman and mayor Steve Wolowitz voiced his support for a council decision to rescind toward a dog beach pilot program taken during a February meeting.

He cited an "intimidation factor" presented by some animals, possible dangerous encounters between dogs and children, and the responsibility of the city to step in when "interests of a limited group conflict with the public at large."

"Nice idea, wrong beach," he said.

Debates about a possible dog beach have pointed to a "drastic need" to give Peninsula residents a place to exercise their dogs, Bruce Megowan said during Tuesday's meeting.

"It would be nice if we had a place,” he said.

Speakers from Heal the Bay and also took turns at the podium. Business has been negatively affected at the golf course since the council's February decision, including scarce parking for patrons and loose dogs on the course, the Trump representative said. Heal the Bay expressed environmental concerns, including the limited amount of time between now and the program's formerly proposed October start date to set a baseline for water quality at the beach.

"We created a circus," one speaker said in the packed room at , filled with media and concerned audience members.

Set to become only the third legal dog beach in Los Angeles County, popularity for the spot quickly escalated once word spread that Rancho Palos Verdes was planning on vetting a dog beach in the area.

This attention raised concern among some council members, including Councilwoman Susan Brooks, who compared a photo of crowds at the dog beach on a day in early March to Woodstock, or "something from the 70s."

"Frankly, it was like Woodstock for dogs," she said. "This is not the space, not the place."

Councilman Brian Campbell said it was too soon to decide the program couldn't work, and suggested "significant restrictions" on the usage of the beach.

"I think it’s a little too soon to completely abandon it," he said.

Conversations surrounding potential plans for the dog beach "got out of control quicker than I expected," Councilman Jim Knight said. City ordinances prohibit dogs and other animals on beaches, he said, which makes it difficult to allow dogs and not horses, for example.

"I don’t think this is the right location for this particular land use proposal," he said.

Both Brooks and Mayor Anthony Misetich expressed support for a dog park at the former Palos Verdes Landfill, calling on a "joint project with other cities."

"I feel for the dog owners," Misetich said. "I know you want to have a place to take your animals."

Karsten Lemke April 04, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Thank you for following this story to a gratifying conclusion!
robin April 04, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Susan Brooks.....you took away most of the horse properties..How dare you compare the dog beach to woodstock....This isn't a mojo, high and trippin' 4 day music fest with 1,000's of people...this is a dog beach...A DOG BEACH..... bah hum bug for RPV.....
DPOC DOG CLUB April 05, 2012 at 01:00 PM
It's too bad that the City Council doesn't see that dog owners are a much larger demographic than what Steve Wolowitz was quoted as stating, the responsibility of the city to step in when "interests of a limited group conflict with the public at large.". In fact, we bet the City Council doesn't even know the accurate number of dogs in their city. National polls have put dogs as family members in close to 55% of the homes in this country. By our math that's a Majority Mr. Wolowitz, not a Minority or as you put it a limited group! According the Centers for Disease Control, dog bites and attacks are at an all time low since they began keeping track of this data, and more important is the vast popularity and revenue gains that city's have seen with the addition of dogs in family activities. Seems hard to believe that a City Council, can't see how with the majority of homes having dogs, the creation of new businesses such as dog-friendly restaurants, self service dog washes and groomers, pet supply stores, and not to mention events and activities such as Dog Surfing Contests, that creating a dog beach is not only popular for city residents but smart business too. The pet industry, with dogs making up the largest portion of that is a Billion Dollar a Year Industry. As for the environment, let's be honest our beaches see more waste entering the ocean after a storm, than dog could possibly pollute. D.P.O.C. Dog Club Http://www.desperatepawsofocdogclub.org
Chuck Mason April 05, 2012 at 04:56 PM
PV; too far from where we live. How about Flyover Beach - Dockweiler? It is empty most all the time. It is near lots of people. It is easy to access. Close it for big RV days (holidays) when the hordes come to drink beer, eat high-fat foods, and play loud music. The rest of the year it is ideal for dogs. thank you.
Kara Stacey April 05, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I find the decision outrageous. This a rough, rocky beach that the city doesn't take care of. Evertime I have been there, the dogs were all well behaved and the owners were very responsible. We now know who NOT to vote for at the next elections. Mayor Anthony M. Misetich E-mail: Anthony.Misetich@rpv.com Mayor Pro Tem Brian Campbell E-mail: Brian.Campbell@rpv.com Councilwoman Susan Brooks Email: Susan.Brooks@rpv.com Councilman Jerry Duhovic Email: Jerry.Duhovic@rpv.com Councilman Jim Knight Email: Jim.Knight@rpv.com --Kara Stacey
Leslie April 06, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Very upsetting. There are basically no off leash places in the Los Angeles area to take your dog and this was a beautiful space for both people and dogs to go. Dog owners are NOT the minority and citing "possible" concerns of interactions between dogs and children as the reason is just ridiculous. People can go to any beach in the L.A. area and most people with kids who went there most likely brought their dogs there also.
Howard April 06, 2012 at 02:07 AM
I enjoy going to this beach, do not own an animal (dog or horse), and it is a pleasure to see all treasure a local spot together. It's typical to call something 'public use,' then ban members of the public from access. As for wealthy property owners, consider that the next buyer might just be someone who would be attracted to an off-leash space for his or her 'best friend.' Perhaps since dogs do not poll, voters should adopt on-leash policies for politicians who are so out of touch they refer to 'your' not 'our' pets. This is a short-sighted decision to react and more proactive candidates should seek office to reset sanity.
RPV Resident April 06, 2012 at 06:03 AM
Kara, The vote was 3-1 with Vice Mayor Brian Campbell in favor of continuing with the pilot program but with some modifications to the hours of usage. Councilman Duhovic lives across the street and could not vote on the issue, which is why there were only 4 total votes.
Rich Barham April 07, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Disgusting decision, those involved should be ashamed of themselves.
James Dibbo April 08, 2012 at 05:12 AM
I had to explain to my 8 year old daughter today that one of her favorite activities, walking our dog Charlie at the Trump Beach, was no longer allowed. She doesn't understand and thought that the City Council was supposed to protect special things instead of taking them away. Walking our dog on that beach truly was one of the most special things about living in RPV. After a hard day, an evening walk with the dog as the sun set helped remind us what really matters in life. Sure the recent publicity was unfortunate but it would have calmed down. They could even have banned dogs on summer weekends if they had to. Well the Trump Organization and Portuguese Bend Club owners have got their way. Nobody will visit the beach any more just as they wish. The responsible local dog owners who have enjoyed that beach for years will lose out forever thanks to a well organized scare mongering campaign. What a sad, sad day. Council members, I hope you feel proud of yourselves for your cowardly decision.
Jeff Scott April 09, 2012 at 03:58 PM
City Council Cowards caved to Trump.
Roberta Griffin April 13, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Wow, are some members of the RPV City Council adopting the practice of Nanny State governing? Are you happy RPV City Council, you've passed another law. Whoohoo for you. I will be sure to make it known the decision makers and their comments, i.e., Woodstock... about the ban on our dog beach when it's time to make OUR decisions on who we want governing our city. THANKS ALOT and I mean that in the most acidulous way.
Roberta Griffin April 13, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Thank you James for your comment. We too have been taking our dogs there for years and like you, after a long day or week for that matter, the dog beach is something we've looked forward to for so long. This is just a horrible decision. We need to get this overturned. Roberta
Roberta Griffin April 13, 2012 at 01:35 AM
I agree Rich. I'm so disheartened by the whole thing. - Roberta
Roberta Griffin April 13, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I am in total agreement Howard. short-sighted, cowardly and down-right mean!
PV April 13, 2012 at 07:12 AM
No excuse for this reversal by city council. No facts, no data. A panicked decision by Jim Knight, Anthony Misetich and Susan "Woodstock" Brooks. Duhovic was prevented on a technicality from voting but has said he favored the trial program and rpv vice mayor Campbell stayed true to form and was the only vote to make some minor adjustments to the beach trial and continue it.
Donna Baranowski April 15, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Hi Kara, Agreed but one thing....Please don't lump Mayor Pro Tem Brian Campbell in with the group of not to vote for. He is the only one with integrity and honesty in upholding the original vote to look at studies and replying to those groups that write to him. Also please consider joining Offleashla.com and Dogbeachnow. com - this is done FOR NOW but continue to write to your local papers and join these groups!
Leash Off L.A. May 08, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Leash Off L.A. 8:40 am on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 See the latest article from PV Patch: Palos Verdes Beaches Remain Among L.A's Healthiest Interesting that a beach which had been an unofficial "Dog beach" for decades, rates an A grade while our Redondo Beaches (for people only) get grades from C to F. Once again showing that the RPV City council rescinded their off-leash study and monitoring based on no scientific fact whatsoever. Write to the RPV city council CC@RPV.com and bring the study back. Lia Oprea www.LeashOffLA.com

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