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Seal supporters lose appeal on rope barrier at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a legal motion brought by animal rights activists seeking to force San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders to declare an emergency requiring the seal rope barrier at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool to be put up immediately.

“Appellants’ emergency motion for injunctive relief is denied. ... This court has no jurisdiction to entertain such a request,” the June 15 ruling states.

Sanders signed a June 11 resolution stating there was no “sudden, unexpected occurrence” to justify circumventing the normal permit process for putting the rope up which allows for public input.

Bryan Pease, an attorney for the Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL), had filed an emergency motion to force the city to put the rope up immediately, contending Sanders was refusing to follow the May 17 city council resolution requiring a year-round barrier. The council also voted to close the beach to humans during seals’ Dec. 15 to May 15 pupping season, hire a privately funded ranger to patrol the beach and run a city-sponsored docent program and to prohibit dogs on the beach at all times.

Meanwhile, seal advocates are due back in court Friday at 8:15 a.m. in Department 2 of San Diego Superior Court, answering a motion to prosecute one of their group who allegedly illegally removed a posted umbrella with a sign that said “Beach Open” at the Children’s Pool.

Pease said owners of the umbrella had left it unattended for a long period of time, adding that seal advocates cannot do with their signs “under threat of arrest and sign confiscation.”

“It was placed in such a manner as to encourage Marine Mammal Protection Act violations,” Pease said Thursday, characterizing the prosecution’s charge as “selective and malicious.”