It’s a good thing that dogs have a keen sense of direction.
That way they won’t get lost when the city uproots the Manhattan Beach Dog Run and places it further into Manhattan Beach Park – a move that is expected to take place in the next few years.
Repeated noise complaints have prompted the city’s Parks Department to approve the move, which may take place when they rehab the park’s basketball courts.
Both changes are being funded in part by City Councilmember Michael Nelson, who has already allocated $125,000 for the projects.
Plans for re-locating the dog run were discussed Wednesday when Nelson and high-ranking city parks officials met with residents and members of Community Board 15, the Manhattan Beach Community Group and the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association during a “scoping session.”
The gathering was held amid barks of criticism from a handful of dog owners and local activist Ed Eisenberg.
“The people who use the dog run take care of it… it’s locked up every night,” said Eisenberg. “It’s considered one of the best-looking dog runs in the city. Why would you want to move it?”
Eisenberg claims that the push to have the dog run moved stems from one or two Manhattan Beach residents who live across the street from it on Oriental Boulevard.
Officials from Nelson’s office said that they have received “many complaints” about noise coming from the dog run – so much so that the city had already approved changing the time of its daily opening from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
The Manhattan Beach Community Group voted in favor of having the dog run moved last April.
“First off, it’s not a real dog run, just a piece of land that was fenced off so people could bring their dogs there,” said Chaim Deutsch, Nelson’s chief aide. “Secondly, we’ve gotten a lot of complaints about people parking their cars on Oriental Boulevard and blasting their music as they take their dogs to it.”
When it’s built, the new dog run is expected to have high fences, a grass field, running water for pets, a drainage system and two separate areas for large and small dogs.
Eisenberg said that the new dog run will be half the size of the current dog run, which dog owners help to maintain.
“It’s become a community,” he said, adding that dog owners at the site were instrumental in helping police identify a man wanted for an assault between two dog owners this past spring, he said.
Any complaints of noise or of people using the dog run after hours – which has also been fielded – is simply a “matter for the police,” he said.
“Dogs are smart,” Deutsch explained. “We’re sure that if dogs could speak, they would say that they’d want a spot with good drainage and safe lighting. It’s going to be a beautiful.”
Yet Deutsch’s logic doesn’t fly with some dog owners.
“If you move the dog run, there’s going to be a war,” said Gravesend resident John Arario, who brings his yellow Labrador Vito to the dog run every day.
“They want to move the dog run over toward the tennis courts, which has over 100 dues paying members,” he said. “When our dogs walk by the courts and piss on the fence, there’s to be a revolution.”
Arariao also said that the new dog run will disrupt a pristine walking path inside the park.
“Everybody is happy right where it is,” he said. “If some idiot comes by [the dog run] every now and again, we can’t help that. But if you move it, it’s going to be worse.”
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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