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SILVER LAKE : Council to Consider Plan for Dog Park

November 06, 1994|BRETT MAHONEY

Forget about killer bees, four-legged furry creatures may soon be legally unleashed in the Silver Lake recreation area.

The Recreation and Parks Commission unanimously approved City Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg's plan to turn Silver Lake's Dog Hill into an official dog park at its Oct. 19 meeting.

The proposal, which sets aside specific hours when dogs will be allowed to roam unleashed, will be inspected by the City Council in the next few weeks, but Goldberg does not foresee any obstacles in getting the one-year pilot program approved.

Dog Hill has been the meeting place for the four-legged set for years. In June, however, owners began receiving tickets from Animal Regulation for letting their pets run free and they appealed to Goldberg to make it an official dog park.

In a letter sent to Steven Soboroff, chief of the Recreation and Parks Commission, Goldberg stated that residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of creating a dog park and presented her with a petition with more than 1,200 signatures in August.

Goldberg said the dog park would allow residents to feel a sense of community that is usually associated with smaller towns.

"While the dogs are out running around together, the adults get a chance to socialize," she said last week.

The proposal has, however, received a few catcalls. Some neighbors of the park have threatened to file suit against the city because they contend allowing unleashed dogs to run free through the park could be a nuisance.

To appease the critics, a fence is being erected in the park to isolate Dog Hill from the children's sandlot, basketball court and west side of the recreation area. No dogs, leashed or unleashed, will be allowed in picnic areas.

The proposal also limits the times that dogs may be unleashed on Dog Hill.

Goldberg said she has consulted the city attorney about the proposal and is certain it can withstand any legal challenge. She pointed to Dog Hill's problem-free history as evidence that the proposal can work.

Animal Regulation has received only one complaint about Dog Hill during the past year, said Lt. Marshall Vernon. That incident involved one unleashed dog attacking another canine.

If the Dog Hill proposal is adopted by the City Council, the Silver Lake recreation area will join two other such parks in Los Angeles

County where leash laws are exempt. The others are in Studio City and in Long Beach. No major problems have been reported in either place, officials said.

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