City leans towards leash laws for dogs in parks

The city of Seal Beach may soon require dog owners to leash their pets in public parks.

The leash would have to be “substantial” and no more than 6 feet long, according to a staff report.

On Wednesday, May 26, the Recreation and Parks Commission reviewed the Municipal Code to consider whether dogs should be leashed.

Community Services Supervisor Tim Kelsey said the commission didn’t make a decision that night. However, he said staff would bring a resolution back to the commission in June that would recommend changing city law to require dogs be leashed while in most public parks.

The only exception would be Arbor Dog Park.

The Recreation and Parks Commission has no authority to change city law. The commission does have the authority to make recommendations to the City Council.

The issue came before the commission on May 26 because the City Council unanimously referred the issue of restricting dogs in city parks at the Monday, Feb. 22 council meeting.

“The current Seal Beach Municipal Code does not contain language specifically prohibiting dog,” said a staff report by Kelsey.

“Staff researched similar municipal codes related to dogs in parks for the following cities: Huntington Beach, Dana Point, Cypress, San Clemente, Long Beach and Los Alamitos,” Kelsey wrote.

“Although the codes vary among cities, they are similar in that they all require dogs to be restrained properly while on public property, including parks,” the report said.

“None of the city codes reviewed by staff prohibits dogs in public parks and staff does not believe it to be in the best interest of the city of Seal Beach or its residents to prohibit dogs in public parks, but rather require proper restraint of dogs while on public property,” Kelsey wrote.

The next meeting of the Recreation and Parks Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23.