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In The Pipeline: Keep Spot, Fido and Marilyn safe — on a leash

February 23, 2011|By Chris Epting
(Courtesy Chris…)

I started walking our dog on the pretty Brightwater trail near the Bolsa Chica wetlands recently, after remembering that leashed dogs were allowed there.

The trail provides a beautiful view of the ocean and an interesting proximity to the fenced-off protected areas. Marilyn, our dog, seemed to thoroughly enjoy the walks there, aroused by the many unique scents and telltale wisps of the occasional squirrel or lizard.

What she didn't seem to appreciate were the frequent off-leash dogs that would bound over to her while their owners walked ahead.

See, after getting attacked at a local park a few years ago by an unleashed dog, she gets tense when she's the only one on a leash. And I don't blame her.

But I fully blame the growing number of dog owners in Huntington Beach who blatantly violate leash laws, cleanup laws and, it would seem, pretty much every other law that dog owners are supposed to follow. Is it just me, or do any of you notice the trend?

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At Brightwater recently, I've directed people, when their leashless dogs approach mine, to keep them away — while watching a scrap develop. Then I'll ask if they are aware of the leash law.

An elderly couple with a black Labrador snapped back hard at me last week when I posed the question.

"Can I see your deed to this property?" the man snarled, "cause if you don't own this land, it's none of your business."

His wife's bark was even worse. When I asked if they had their own special rules, she said, while holding a batch of her grey hair, "See this? This grey hair is our rule. We've been walking here since before you were born. And we'll keep doing it."

It made me wonder if, in their eyes, every other rule enacted during their lifetime was null and void.

The next evening, a gorgeous magenta sunset was interrupted by a woman allowing two large golden retrievers to romp free. One went to the bathroom, conveniently, while the owner was about 50 feet ahead. I pointed it out to her as she doubled back, while asking if she knew about the leash law. Her response? "Get over it, dude." This on a trail that has become like a disgusting, unsanitary minefield, thanks to owners like her.

Why don't they just go to Dog Beach, where off-leash is allowed?

Another guy, the next day, in response to my leash-law question, said, "Can I see your badge? And if you don't have one, don't bother talking to me." Please note that I've cleaned that one up for family reading.

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