Santa Monica is considering a pilot program for a "dog beach"--an area of the beach the size of a few volleyball courts where canines can run around unleashed, all the way to the water. The Santa Monica Daily Press says the city council will tomorrow ask city staff to work with the California State Parks department on a preliminary program. If it gets the go-ahead, the program would include testing of the sand and water to make sure bacteria isn't sullying the beach (remember The Simpsons Movie?). The environmental group Heal the Bay is cautiously supportive of the idea, but only if the dog beach is fenced-in and away from the intertidal zone (the part of the beach that's alternately above- and below-water depending on the tides). Another concern is dogs biting people, but a Long Beach beach with a three-acre "dog zone" reported 40,000 annual dog visits and only about five bites (and water quality wasn't affected). Proponents of the bark park say it will encourage animal/human exercise, as well as community ties.
· City Council to Consider Creating Dog Beach [SMDP]