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Port San Luis looking at enforcement, partial ban to address dog complaints on beaches

John and Carolyn Claudy, center, of Arroyo Grande, walk their dogs along with a pack of other dog owners Fridin January at Olde Port Beach in Port San Luis.
John and Carolyn Claudy, center, of Arroyo Grande, walk their dogs along with a pack of other dog owners Fridin January at Olde Port Beach in Port San Luis. jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

Port San Luis Harbor District representatives are still pondering how to address complaints that some pet owners aren’t cleaning up after their pooches or keeping aggressive dogs leashed on the beach. Among the options? More trash cans and signage, volunteer cleanup crews and potentially closing two of the district’s lesser-used beaches to dogs.

At the district’s Property Committee meeting Thursday, harbor commissioners Drew Brandy and Jim Blecha said off-leash dogs would continue to be allowed on Olde Port Beach and Avila Beach, where dogs are allowed from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m.

Brandy said, however, that he wants to consider making the district’s other two beaches — Fisherman’s and Lighthouse beaches — dog-free.

The Property Committee — composed of Brandy and Blecha — first discussed the problem in January. News that the district was considering some type of ban was met with consternation by pet owners who flock to the popular dog-friendly beaches.

A staff report for the January meeting noted the district received 10 dog-related complaints in the past year. Those included two complaints about dog waste at Olde Port Beach, two for dog waste and/or aggressive dogs at Fisherman’s Beach and six for dog waste, aggressive behavior and/or violations of time restrictions at Avila Beach.

The report listed designating some of the district’s four beaches as “dog-free” as one of the options for addressing the complaints.

“It’s probably fair to say that a ban of dogs on all district beaches isn’t probably within the realm of consideration here,” Harbor Manager Andrea Lueker said Thursday.

Several members of the public on Thursday proposed adding more trash cans and organizing regular volunteer cleanup teams to eliminate some concerns. Others suggested more signage, implementing fines and beefing up enforcement.

“If somebody’s dog poops on the beach — $200 fine,” Avila Beach resident Vicki Book said. “And if somebody brings a dog on the beach (at the wrong time) — $75 fine. No warnings. Call your guys, they come and write a ticket. It’s an income for you, and they learn real quick.”

The committee continued the topic to a meeting in March or April. Any committee recommendation will go to the full Harbor Commission for a final decision.

Kaytlyn Leslie: 805-781-7928, @kaytyleslie

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