Opinion: Dog ban upholds Marine Mammal act

Courtney Hibbard

La Jolla Resident

In the recent ban of dogs from the La Jolla Children’s Pool, the City Council has committed to uphold the 1975 Marine Mammal Protection Act, which bars any interference with the natural behavior of marine mammals. Although I love dogs and volunteer with a local animal shelter, I distrust the dogs’ owners who don’t respect the seals’ needs for protection and repose.

In prohibiting dogs from the vicinity of Casa Beach (The Children’s Pool), seals have one fewer battle to fight when resting on the shore because owners don’t always restrain dogs from scaring the seals.

The next step is for the city to create a Marine Mammal Park at Casa Beach, which would serve public education, promote safe viewing of harbor seals and guarantee quiet interlude for the seals while they’re not hunting for food.

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Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=41574

Posted by Staff on May 18, 2011. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

10 Comments for “Opinion: Dog ban upholds Marine Mammal act”

  1. Carter

    You are saying the council is "upholding" the Marine Mammal Protection Act? There is no obligation for a city to impose regulations on people to "uphold" federal law that is not even being broken. If it is, then let the Feds do their job, they are big boys. The MMPA is a strict liability statue, meaning penalties are enforced upon anyone who breaks it, no excuses. However, simply having your dog near a seal is not a violation of the MMPA, and it has not been established in court yet if it would even be a violation of MMPA if someone's dog harmed a seal.

    Why does the city need to intervene in a federal matter? It is not "upholding" anything, only people who don't break the law are "upholding it". Your editorial is confused; you also say the MMPA was was signed in 1975 when its title is in reality the MMPA of 1972.

    Your thinking is an example of what is wrong with America. Imposing the will of a few animal rights extremists upon the many, taking away their freedoms. Part of those freedoms is their decision to subject themselves to a federal violation if their actions go that far. I have seen dogs on Children's Pool beach with no negative response from the seals; the dog was within 10 feet of a mother and pup.

    The closing part of your editorial is ridiculous. A Marine Mammal Park at CHILDREN's POOL BEACH? Why do you call it Casa Beach? It is the CHILDREN's POOL. You give yourself away as one of these extremists when you hijacked the name casa beach and apply it to the CHILDREN'S POOL. What is wrong with keeping the Children's Pool for the children and beach users? Do you know what a "Marine Mammal Park" is? It is not anything that the City of San Diego has funds for, I can tell you that much. A marine mammal park is regulated by the USDA and is what SeaWorld is.

    You understand nothing about wildlife other than that its "cute". Why are you coddling these seals with an unnatural beach and unnatural protection? They are in no danger from the status quo, if they were, they would leave! There would not be 45 pups born on the beach this year. Where do you suppose all these seals rested 20 years ago when they were not at the Children's Pool!?

    "Guaranteeing quiet interlude" for wild animals is not the job of the city of san diego, it is not the job of the federal government, is it the agenda of animal rights extremists that accuse beach users of being "speciesist" (defined as accusation of racism against animals, that's how nutty these people are) , as if humans are on the same level of animals. Take your extremism out of La Jolla, we are tired of dealing with BS lawsuits from your kind.

    Keep the Children's Pool for the CHILDREN and SWIMMERS. Seal can join if they want. Seals can also use the REAL CASA BEACH to the south of Children's Pool if they want…

    • npk32

      Do you honestly think you're helping the shared use cause by posting these paranoid, maniacal rantings?

      • Meghan

        Judging by the thumbs up that Carter has and the numerous thumbs down that you have on all your posts I would say that it is you that needs to rethink his rantings

        • npk32

          That's certainly a possibility. However it's more likely that the lack of verification on La Jolla Light's comments section allows one or two people to comment and approve/disapprove of other people's comments multiple times.

          That being said I'm open to rethinking any of the comments I've made on here. What did you object to?

          • lajollalight

            We do not at this point require registration for our site so there is no verification process — call it an honor system of sorts. — The Editor

          • Meghan

            I just tried to press the thumbs again and it said "Sorry ,you already voted"
            All I know is what I've observed at the Children's Pool. I've only seen someone with a dog there a couple of times and it did not cause any problems that I noticed.
            This past Sunday there were no seal activists and it was a very pleasant day. There were about 100 seals on the beach along with dozens of people on the beach and swimming and everything seemed to be fine.
            The weekend before that when the activists were there a lady was yelling at everybody with a megaphone and there seemed to be a lot of undo tension that day. I would like the Children's pool to be the way it was before all this trouble started.

  2. TIm

    I will have my dogs there at 3 AM on the beach and the police will never care or enforce this law.

  3. ljdiver

    You can not fix stupid…she also wrote this gem.

    The rights to the public beach belong to…
    •By Courtney Hibbard, San Diego Civil Rights Examiner
    •March 7th, 2011 12:30 pm PT

    The rights to beach access are generally accepted as free and equal across California, with the exception of a few private beaches or areas deemed dangerous for cliffs and threatening currents. But sometimes rights to public spaces include other considerations, like the well being of animals.
    The Children’s Pool in La Jolla has colorful history of public use, with more skepticism by advocates for local seal populations stepping in to stop human interaction with the animals. On the other side are beach rights fanatics fighting for the sands around the sea wall.
    In 1931 Ellen Browning Scripps donated money for a public area of recreation where there is now The Children’s Pool or Casa Beach. The State of California transferred the land to the city of San Diego in a Tidelands Grant that year to allow for construction of a sea wall, dedicating Casa Beach to human recreation. Also at this time, fishermen hunted seals because they viewed these animals as competitors for fish. The harbor seal populations slowly abandoned traditional haul-out areas out of fear of the hunters.
    But as hunters left, the seals returned, polluting the water at Casa Beach with their natural waste, causing the city to close the waters to swimmers at the beach entirely. In 1997, a rope was put up half way down the beach in 1997 to prohibit people from going in the polluted water and from disrupting the animals' natural habitat. In 2005, the city removed it after the council adopted a “shared use” policy allowing people unfettered access to the beach. In April 2006, the city council voted 7-1 to leave a rope on the beach during seal pupping season, from December through May. But the rope doesn’t mean people can’t go onto the beach or into the water. The only protection the seals have is under The Marine Mammal Protection Act, which bars any interference with the natural behavior of the marine mammals.
    The City of San Diego owns the swimming enclave and is responsible for protecting both human and marine lives. During the summer months, The Children’s Pool looks like a war zone with volunteer docents standing atop the beach stairs asking the public to stay off the beach while public beach advocates and tourists plop themselves on the sand next to the seals resting spots. Lifeguards stop people from harassing seals from June through September, but some sit as close as they can to the waters edge to enjoy their right to be on their beach. Or is it the seals’ beach?

  4. Seal team 6

    This is just one more effort to close Children's Pool to humans, this was a lobbing effort by the Animal Protection and Rescue League / Seal Watch.

    • npk32

      It sounds like an effort by the City Council to prevent the situation at Children's Pool from escalating.

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