Dog owners irked by increase in off-lease quotes

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement team are writing more citations for dog owners who let their furry friends off the leash in the city’s joint-use fields.

One such field on Fortuna Avenue and Jewell Street is used by the Crown Point Junior Music Academy and is open to residents when school isn’t in session. The field has multiple signs stating that it isn’t an off-leash dog park, but area residents say the rule regularly is being ignored by dog ​​owners.

Resident Kendally Holmstrom said that when the pandemic broke out, the rule wasn’t being enforced.

“No one came around because of COVID and it kind of became an off-leash dog park for a lot of people in the area,” Holmstrom said, “and with no notice, they started cracking down on people and giving tickets.”

Several dog owners say they’ve been given citations for not keeping their dogs on the leash, creating some frustration among neighbors with no nearby off-leash parks in the area.

“The closest ones are a few miles away,” Holmstrom said. “For people who don’t have a car or are on a really tight schedule, working from home, there is nowhere to take your dog out. We are just trying to get our dogs to exercise and play.”

The city of San Diego contracts with the Humane Society to enforce the rules at parks. The citations given out are for a notice to appear and could range up to $300.

Humane Law Enforcement Chief Bill Ganley said the citations are about safety at joint fields.

“Even though your dog may be friendly and under your control, it is an animal and anything can happen on any day,” Ganley said.

He added that he’s seen “some really tragic situations” where people or dogs are attacked by an off-leash pet. Citations have increased, but it’s because complaints also have increased, Ganley said.

“We empathize and understand the issues that they want more off-leash dog parks but use the ones there are there now,” he said. “Please don’t go to joint facilities because it’s a safety issue.”

Residents say they would like the city to add more dog parks or make areas where dogs can be off-leash.

In the meantime, click or tap here to see a full list of approved off-leash dog locations in San Diego.

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