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Which San Clemente Beach Will Go To The Dogs?

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Residents of and visitors to the OC's San Clemente will soon have a place to take their four-legged canine companions for an off-leash oceanside romp. One of two public beaches there could be turned into an experimental dog beach, according to the OC Register.

Supporters and detractors of the pilot program, proposed to begin in March and allow dogs to run around off-leash from 4 to 9 a.m. daily, spoke at a park commissioners meeting in San Clemente Tuesday night. Arguments for the dog beach included the popularity of dogs in area households and the rights of those animals to run about freely. Among those supporting the idea, however, were those who were looking for modification to the proposed sites, which are:

• A strand near the north end of North Beach, bordering a flood-control channel and San Clemente's Metrolink station. • A parcel south of North Beach, between 204 Beach and Mariposa Point, reached via a beach trail and a stairway to the sand.

Those opposed to the plan have voiced concerns about " dog waste, enforcement of rules, aggressive dogs and difficulty keeping dogs away from children would pose a problem and a liability for the city," and also feel that there is little beach as-in in San Clemente, and to give a portion of it to off-leash dogs is unfair.

There are 60 dog-friendly beaches in California, including the #1 ranked in the nation, in the OC's Huntington Beach. In L.A. County, there is only one, Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach. A recent attempt to greenlight a pilot program in Santa Monica was turned down by the state.

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In San Clemente, the next step is for the City Council to take up the proposal, which could happen in January. "Currently, dogs are banned from nearly all city parks, as well as the beaches," adds the Register.