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Dogs Have Their Day in Park Vote

December 12, 1987

The Los Angeles Recreation and Park Commission on Friday approved a proposal to allow dogs to run unleashed in Laurel Canyon Park, sending the long-running controversy to the City Council for final resolution.

By a 4-0 vote, the commission approved the proposal by Councilman Michael Woo that would, for a six-month trial period, allow dogs to run free in the park from dawn until 9 a.m. and from 4 p.m. until the park closes at 10:30 p.m. The proposal is expected to be approved by the full council in January.

The commission also rejected a recommendation by the Recreation and Parks Department to set aside an area in the Sepulveda Basin where dogs could run free all the time.

Angry confrontations have taken place at the four-acre Laurel Canyon Park, at the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains above Studio City, over dog owners letting their pets run free in violation of the city's leash law. Other park users have complained that there have been as many as 50 unleashed dogs at a time in the park endangering small children.

Unlike previous hearings that have drawn standing-room-only crowds, only a handful of Laurel Canyon residents--mostly dog owners in support of the proposal--attended Friday's meeting at the Griffith Park golf clubhouse. Woo attributed the small turnout to both sides accepting his compromise proposal.

Woo, in pushing the compromise, told the commission: "I don't have a conflict of interest. I don't own a dog. And I don't have children."

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