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Is Benicia Ready for Another Dog Friendly Beach?

The parks panel will consider allowing dogs to go to the Ninth Street Beach.

The Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Commission will consider Wednesday whether to endorse a pilot program to make the Ninth Street beach the newest off-leash dog area in Benicia.  If approved by the commission and City Council, the pilot program will run for one year.

Dogs are already allowed to frolic in the water off-leash at the end of First Street and at the Promenade Beach between and the spit.  A pilot program was used to evaluate whether these two beaches were suitable for dogs to play off-leash.

Having beaches where dogs can play in the water is also one of the reasons Benicia was voted the in the United States.

The trial program that led to the Promenade and First Street beaches being open to dogs was run in 2001. During the trial period, city staff will monitor the following:

  • Number of complaints 
  • Calls for service (police or animal control) 
  • Maintenance reports 
  • Visual inspection of usage

At the end of the trial period the Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Commission will evaluate the data and make a recommend to the City Council whether to make the Ninth Street Beach a permanent off-leash area for dogs.

The commission meets on Wednesday, September 12, in Room 2 of the Community Center, 370 East L Street. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.

What do you think?  Should dogs be allowed on the Ninth Street Beach? Tell us in comments.

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

Mancini Pia September 12, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Donna, I agree! Lori made some EXCELLENT points and suggestions. The shards of glass on all beaches are pretty hazardous. I don't dare let my kiddos walk barefoot there and I'm not so sure it would be very safe for dogs either. A good friend of mine made that point to me yesterday and she has two dogs she loves walking all over town. I also agree with irresponsible beach goers and their trash. I encourage everyone who uses the beach to clean up after themselves please. It's just common courtesy and something nice to keep our nice beach clean. I just spoke to my 7 year old daughter the other day about us doing a mini-coastal clean up down there when we visit next time. Perhaps you haven't seen dog poop down there because up until now, it is still NOT a dog beach and there is a posted sign that dogs aren't allowed. Although the last time we were down there, two separate dog owners with two of the most beautiful Mastiffs were brought down to the beach near children and families. I didn't notice if they were released off leash. But it just proves that people can see a posted sign and STILL ignore them and do what they please. I absolutely LOVE the idea of Lori's compromise of dog friendly hours. But how will that be enforced? Another sign perhaps that people will ignore? A dedicated animal control officer to sit at the beach everyday all day long writing tickets to ensure safety would be ideal in a perfect world with unlimited city funds but is it realistic?
Mancini Pia September 12, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Sorry ... missed one more point about dog parks ... YES, I totally agree with Lori that small toddlers and children shouldn't be in the dog parks either. Rambunctious, happy and playful dogs don't make the distinction between rough play with each other and little kids. See .... maybe having a rational, adult conversation together about all these points may just be the solution to the debate. We can ALL learn from each other and see each other's perspectives without resorting to personal attacks and ugliness. After all, it seems to me that everyone here for the most part is concerned about the city, its dogs, families and children. On a side note, Lisa had posted the message from the Mayor on a Facebook page called Benicia Dogs ... I noticed today that there was a post that encouraged supporters to come down to today's meeting at 6:00 PM and NOT 6:30 as was previously stated. So I'm not sure if this means that the time has been formally changed and just not announced for some odd reason. But I encourage EVERYONE, either pro or con to make it down there at 6:00 PM to be safe. As now, I have absolutely NO idea what time the thing *really* starts.
Jan Cox Golovich September 12, 2012 at 11:01 PM
JB, as you know --- in order for dogs to get to the 9th St. Beach, they have to go through the 9th St. Park. The City will have to allow dogs at both the Park and the Beach for this proposal to work, especially along the narrow path down to the beach-- unless there is a helicopter service.
Lori September 13, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Pia mentioned a concern that in having dog friendly hours (which I still feel is the BEST compromise) we'd need to have an animal control officer parked there to write tickets to violators. Why? We all know we have violators with the current codes. Do we have an animal control officer 'dedicated' to ticketing dog owners who use the beach now? No. So I doubt that would really need to change. Yes, as Stan mentioned, people ignore signs and commit violations all the time. As he said, there are "some people who just cannot follow rules." That is evidenced everyday by the throngs of people speeding by me on my way to work, people using their cell phones while driving, etc. There is inherent risk in any of these violations and the violators, when caught, are penalized. Same should hold true for irresponsible dog owners. Get caught? Pay the penalty. There will always be rule breakers, but we don't punish the many for the few. I don't think that that's a good enough argument for not having a trial period for permitting dogs at the 9th Street beach. An example of that mentality in action would be to close the 9th Street park to all visitors because the current code says that the park is closed during the evening hours. Yet 'some people just can't follow the rules" and violate that law on a daily basis. Punish the violators, not the rule followers. Give the trial period a chance!
Lori September 13, 2012 at 12:57 AM
I just reread through all the responses a seond time and I think Gretchen is on to a great idea! She expressed concern that running a trial through the colder months might not be a true indicator of the success of the trial program. As she mentions, fewer people use the beach then. Well that got me to thinking so I did some searching online. There are beaches that only allow canine visitors between Labor Day and Memorial Day, making the beaches off limits to dogs during the busy summer season. The 9th Street beach is pretty much empty once the cooler weather comes. Maybe a reasonable compromise?

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