Thursday, June 13, 2024

A Coronado Dog Park of Their Own


Dog lovers know that the daily ritual of walking a dog is enough to keep them healthy and happy. They need more than “a place to romp and play and socialize with other dogs,” said Kelli Schry spokesperson for the San Diego Humane Society.

“If they don’t have one, they can develop behavioral problems, such as chewing.”

This is even truer for shelter dogs. “After several months in the shelter, big dogs develop a host of behavior problems. They don’t want to walk; they get aggressive with other dogs,” said Louise Shirey of PAWS.

“When that happens we have to bring in a trainer to correct the behavior before we can put them up for adoption,” Shirey said.

Trainers cost money that could be spent on PAWS other programs, including spaying and neutering.

The problem has become so serious that PAWS is actively looking for a place where dogs can be off-leash besides the Cays dog run and dog beach. Both have limitations.

The Cays is in an unfenced area too close to the street, making it potentially dangerous. “One dog was killed recently after running out into the streets,” Shirey said.

For the shelter dogs the beach is impractical. “They get covered with sand and have to be washed afterwards,” she said. Not having a local dog park has also caused people to let Rover run free in inappropriate places.

Vetter Park, for example, has been an unofficial leash-free park for years. “People leave their dogs off leash there all the time,” said Shirey, who lives just down the street from the park. “The police come by and tell them that their dogs have to be on a leash. They put the leash on, but take it off as soon as the police leave.”

While the park maybe is popular with some dog owners, neighbors object and are the first to call the police if they see a pooch running loose.

PAWS is not interested in putting a park where it’s not wanted. They simply want a permanent and safe place for dogs to run free, Shirey said. Given the dearth of parks and open lots in Coronado, the options are limited.

Still PAWS has identified a couple of candidates:

One is a vacant 50×50 lot next to the Bay Club. The city leased it to them 35 years ago for $120 a year, when it was Oakwood Apartments. According to the lease agreement either the city or the Bay Club can cancel the lease with 30 days notice.

“The city could make it a park for dogs, just like Spreckels Park, which is also owned by the city,” Shirey said. The space is a bit small, but workable. Shirey calls it her “ace the hole” if nothing more suitable is found.

She is also interested in a portion of Bradley Field, 57x137x122 feet, not being used by Little League teams.

“It is fenced off from the park, so it wouldn’t affect the children, but it’s big enough to throw a ball for the dog to chase,” Shirey said.

Wherever the park winds up, PAWS is committed to having one. They raised the issue with the city council a few months back. The council referred the matter to its Parks and Recreation Commission.

“They [PAWS] have brought ideas to us and taken our suggestions and incorporated them, but we still don’t have something we can recommend,” said commission chair Mary Jane Clements. “It’s a long process.”

Still Clements remains optimistic. “We are going to continue to explore and try to find an appropriate spot that works for everybody.”


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Gloria Tierney
Gloria Tierney
A freelance writer in San Diego for more than 30 years. She has written for a number of national and international newspapers, including the Times of London, San Diego Tribune, Sierra Magazine, Reuters News Service and Patch.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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