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Dogs get to keep their beach in Avila 

Four-legged friends and their owners can continue to enjoy a game of fetch on some sandy stretches of Avila Beach coastline.

During the Aug. 23 Port San Luis Harbor District Commission meeting, the board unanimously voted to allow dogs, with some restrictions, on Avila, Olde Port, and Coast Guard (also known as Lighthouse Beach) beaches. The commission updated the rules regarding dogs on the district's beaches after receiving complaints about irresponsible dog owners since the beginning of the year. The biggest issue was waste-bags that were being abandoned on the beach.

The biggest changes to the existing rules are that dogs are no longer allowed on Fisherman's Beach but they are now allowed on Coast Guard Beach, just not above the median high tide line.

Harbor Manager Andrea Lueker said that the board wanted to give the community an area of the beach that they could enjoy without dogs around, and the best area is Fisherman's.

"It's a corner of the beach where kayaks and paddle boards usually launch, and we thought it'd be good to have a section that's dog-free," Lueker said.

Dogs were not previously allowed on Lighthouse Beach to keep the canines off the Point San Luis Lighthouse property. Dogs are still allowed off leash before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m. on Avila Beach and from sunrise to sunset on Olde Port.

Lueker said staff received about 50 comments from the public about the issue of restricting dogs on beaches. Staff contemplated forming a volunteer patrol to enforce the ordinances, the amount of signage on the beaches, specific trash containers for dog-waste, and dog-free beaches. Commissioners ditched the patrol group idea but will discuss changing the signage that displays beach rules at a later meeting.

"The point is not to add more signage. We had an interesting discussion on people's ability to absorb information on signs, which they may not be able to or don't even pay attention to," Lueker said. Δ

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