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Judge considering request on seal barrier

A federal judge Friday took under submission a request by a seal protection group to install a rope barrier to keep humans away from harbor seals during their pupping season at Children’s Pool in La Jolla.

Bryan Pease, the attorney for La Jolla Friends of the Seals, urged U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes to order the city of San Diego to follow a 2006 ordinance approved by the City Council, which kept the rope barrier in place until recently.

“We’re asking the court to order the city to follow its own ordinances,” Pease said.

Deputy City Attorney George Schaefer said a state court ruling prohibits the city from re-installing the rope barrier.

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City officials are not opposed to restoring the barrier and Schaefer said failure to do so might put the city in violation of the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

In October, Superior Court Judge Yuri Hoffman ordered the city to return the Children’s Pool o its “pre-sea” condition, when a 1931 state law granted the area to the city if it was used as a bathing area for children.

Hoffman ordered the city to continue efforts to obtain permits for removing sand buildup and cleaning up the water.

But in late October, Hayes issued a temporary restraining order that prohibits the city from doing anything to remove the seals.

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A March hearing is scheduled on that issue.