Off-Leash Hours at Vetter Park Proposed

Over the last month, dog-owners have stopped going to Vetter Park ever since some nearby neighbors raised concerns to law enforcement officials to uphold the leash law that exists at the park.  Up until this time, Vetter Park neighbors offered a 'blind eye' to those dogs that were left off-leash.  For various reasons, allowing dog-owners this civil disobedience was no longer tolerated and hence Vetter Park has since been unfrequented.

As a Coronado resident and a dog-owner, I crave a community that can work together to co-create solutions to fulfill ALL of Coronado residents' needs and not just the few.  This requires an openness to all perspectives, as well as a commitment to address the majority's needs to create a positive and fulfilled community.

Since enforcing the 'leash law', Vetter Park is almost always empty.  

Below I have outlined some background information for the creation of the attached petition letter supporting off-leash hours at Vetter Park.

  • The intention is to co-create a solution for the use of Vetter Park with ourselves, those that oppose any changes, and the Parks and Recreation committee.
  • The intention as dog park users is NOT to support putting up a fence anywhere in Coronado.
  • There are a number of dog park users who have young children who play at the park along side the dogs, and there must be a solution where the whole community can feel comfortable using the beautiful Vetter Park.  The letter attached proposes selective hours at Vetter Park to be deemed as off-leash hours, thereby needing an amendment to the current code CMC-32.04.060 (C).
  • Proposed Off-Leash Hours at Vetter Park:  Monday - Sunday 6:30 AM - 8:30 AM & 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
If off-leash hours are granted, there are a number of issues that are valid to all members of the community, and below are suggestions to address these concerns (open to more suggestions and best practices):
(1)  Who will monitor the off-leash hours?  How will they be enforced?
  • Currently there are both animal control officers as well as police officers enforcing the code at Vetter Park.  There is also a large sign that reminds people as what the current code is, along with smaller signs around the park.  The community is in support of any fines & violations of these codes by enforcement officers. The community is open to the enforcement practices at South Cays Park Dog Run as a comparable park.
  •   The community is less likely to violate the code if there is room in the code to fulfill our and our pets’ needs.
(2) Off-leash dogs can run in the street, attack other dogs, people and children.  How will this be addressed?
  • According to the ASPCA, there are a number of benefits for dogs to be off-leash and playing freely on a daily basis:
  • Physical and mental exercise:  physical exercise is beneficial to maintain and extend dogs’ relatively short lives.  Mental exercise helps prevent unwanted behavior like digging through trash, tearing up a couch, etc.  These behaviors aren’t just unwanted in and around our own homes but they can carry over to our neighborhood children.  Having official off-leash hours can contribute to the overall health and well-being of the pet.
  • Opportunities to learn and maintain social skills with other dogs, people, and children.  Learning social skills helps to curtail aggressive behavior around other dogs and humans.  This type of socialization occurs when dogs are allowed off-leash, not on-leash.  Leashed dogs are more aggressive and tend not to have control over their behavior around other dogs.

C.C. RES-6082 differs from what is on Vetter Park's current sign.  Why not borrow from an existing code and apply to Vetter Park?

Some guidelines for responsible dog-owners to comply with or else be fined!

(3) Disease transmission and hygiene issues are associated with droppings, etc.

  • All Coronado Vetter Park dogs should be licensed by the city of Coronado / San Diego thereby assuring all dogs at Vetter Park would be properly immunized and other users’ exposure to potential disease will be minimized.
  • Encourage and support Coronado police and animal control officers to fine anyone who does not pick up after their pet both at Vetter and in the greater community.
  • Without a designated park for dogs to go to, it is more likely that dogs would relieve themselves at the borders of other parks and on the sidewalks around Coronado.
This is an invitation to share your ideas, suggestions, and concerns below and if possible please come share your voice this Monday, April 14, 2014, when the Parks and Recreation Committee will meet to discuss possible off-leash hours to be implemented at Vetter Park.

Date:  Monday April 14, 2014
Time:  4 PM
Location:  Coronado Council Chambers
1825 Strand Way 

Coronado, CA 92118

Views: 1106

Tags: city of coronado, community, people

Comment by Kellee Hearther on April 12, 2014 at 6:31am

Thanks for the info Akshay!  I hope people who have a strong interest will show up at the meeting to voice their concerns in a civil manner so that a solution can be found to serve all residents who use Vetter Park.  The proposed hours of use for dogs seem reasonable.   

Comment by Susan Scheurer on April 12, 2014 at 1:54pm

It is hard to believe that in the entire Village there is no off leash availability for our many dogs except "dog beach".  I love dog beach but I can't do that everyday.  Dog beach is a treat when we have lots of time for clean up afterwards.   To boot, dogs aren't allowed at most parks.   Vetter is one exception but only "on leash" and yes police will cite you if they are off.  If the small community of the Cays has a working 24/7 dog run/park, shouldn't Village residents be allowed at least an hour or two off leash time in a local location?  For example, there are 18 dogs on the 4th block of J Ave alone.  We need a place to take our pets after work from being inside all day.  This also creates community.  Before the police  started swarming I would take our dog to Vetter for 30 -40 min, 3-4 evenings per week.  I met new friends, our children met new friends, played soccer, and played on the swings, our dog got much needed exercise, played, and chased frisbees.  We had baby showers, celebrated dog birthdays and basically built relationships that wouldn't have been if not for a little "off leash" time at Vetter Park.  I believe an amendment to the current on leash law is the solution. An amendment that would include fines for those who don't pick up their dog's droppings, one that called for dogs to be on command by their owner (like the Cays), one that calls for dogs to be licensed in Coronado to enjoy the park.

Comment by Barbara James on April 13, 2014 at 4:35am
Coronado needs a FENCED dog park for use by PAWS, service dogs that help the disabled including our wounded warriors, and the community at large. Even the most highly trained dog will run into the street under the right circumstances. A fenced park keeps dogs safe with no chance of running into the street causing accidents or injuries to both dogs and humans. Fenced parks provide a safe place for socialization and exercise. Well socialized and exercised dogs bark less, have significantly fewer behavior problems, and increase the longevity of service dogs.

I spend time in Palm Desert and surrounding communities where there are numerous fenced dog parks of various sizes that are beautiful and beautifully maintained. They are meeting spots for dogs and people alike. These parks have areas for big and small dogs, with lush grass, brick walkways for people, shade and sun parts, water, and lights for evening use. If they can maintain these wonderful parks in the desert, we can certainly do it in Coronado. We are one of the few communities around without a fenced dog park.

City parks are for all families not just the small group of people who live near the park. The Village has many parks that prohibit dogs and only one park, Vetter Park, that allows people to bring dogs. If you buy property near the one park that officially allows dogs, you know the park will be used by dogs.

Vetter Park may or may not be the best park to fence, but it is the only designated dog park gifted to the city to be used as a dog park. Other parks could be designated for dogs and fenced. The Village needs a fenced park that is accessible to Paws and the disabled. Additionally, the Cays dog park could be completely fenced providing a second near-by option. It is up to the City Council to weigh the advantages of different sites.

Coronado needs a FENCED dog park. PAWS and our service dogs need a FENCED park.
Comment by John O'leary on April 13, 2014 at 10:30pm

Open Vetter Park to dogs.  We need room for them to roam.

Comment by Wendy Birnbaum on April 14, 2014 at 8:35am
Please consider one fenced dog park...we need it keep our doggies safe and healthy!
Comment by Toni Mc Gowan on April 14, 2014 at 8:48am
I support this effort, especially from the view point of our responsibility to this war's wounded warriors. We have many parks that are for the most part unused. These parks are not an extension of local residents yards. They are public property that they are lucky to have nearby for the community as a whole to gather. Our community, more than any Metro San Diego city, should support a wheelchair accessible, off-leash dog safe community park. JOIN THE BARKS, SHARE THE PARKS!
Comment by marilyn fulton on April 14, 2014 at 10:01am

I don't have a dog but pass Vetter Park often.  The dogs always seem to have such a good time and I have NEVER seen one run into the street.  Dogs need to run and socialize.  There are so many dogs in this area--please don't forbid dogs from the joy of playing.   Marilyn Fulton

Comment by Steve SCannell on April 14, 2014 at 11:47am

I think the people proposing this and supporters out to pony up the money necessary for installation of a low wall with self closing gates, mitigated with low bush planting around the perimeter. Surely such a worthy cause will be supported by these advocates. I believe people ought to recognize the inherent risk to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists without a fence. Scenario: Untrained dog runs into street, spooks driver who careens into bicyclist with a little kid. While these are not an extension of local residents yards, neither are they extensions of un-local residents.

Comment by brookers on April 15, 2014 at 3:20pm

Thanks to everyone who was able to make it to the Parks and Recreation meeting today, both those in favor and opposed to amending the off-leash hours at Vetter Park. For those of you who were unable to attend or who had to leave early, I wanted to summarize what took place as unbiased as possible. The room was full with people who wanted voice their concerns and opinions. The meeting brought the community together for a calm discussion where we could hear the many sides of the arguments. This in itself is something to be celebrated.

Two issues were discussed: 1) Should there be a fenced dog park somewhere in Coronado Village and 2) Should off-leash hours be allowed at Vetter Park and/or other parks in Coronado Village.

The two issues were somewhat lumped together, but ultimately two votes were made.
About 30 people stood up to give their opinions about both issues. Some people strongly opposed a fenced park, but would like off leash hours at multiple parks. Some people want just a fenced park. Even some who opposed off leash hours in Vetter were open to a fenced park or off leash hours at multiple parks. There were many different variations of how people felt on the issues. Although some people are opposed to any type of dog park, the overwhelming majority wanted some resolution to the lack of a place for dogs to run in Coronado Village, even if they disagree on what that resolution is.

After the public gave their 3 minute statements each, the council members discussed what they had heard. Initially it started as saying things such as "this is clearly a passionate issue and we obviously need a place for the dogs to run" and "this is a very polarized issue where half of you will be upset either way." The Head of the Council, Jeff Alison, said he favored having a dog park adjacent to dog beach.

When the idea of having to do some research into what other parks could be available to
have off leash hours at, it was clear that the council members did not feel it was their responsibility to do such research.

Then they asked the police chief to answer some questions. He stated that prior to a month ago, they have very few, if any issues with dogs being the reason for a call to the police (when dogs were running off leash at Vetter).

After briefly discussing what they had heard from the public Jeff Alison, asked the other council members how they feel about the issues. At this point, they seemed to forget the 30 opinions they had just heard and just talked about their own specific feelings toward dogs and parks.

Finally, as it was getting late in the evening (6pm), and the council wanted to make a decision, one councilman, Scott Chasin, suggested we keep things the "status quo." He stated that the police said there have been no issues, thus we shouldn't make any changes. Then a motion was made to not present the concept of a fenced park to city council. Mr. Chasin, Mr. Alison, and Mr. Little agreed, Ms. Kathy Nichols and Ms. Kari McPherson opposed. Then when asked if off-leash hours should be amended to Vetter Park and or other parks, again it was suggested to keep things the "status quo." The same voting took place with the same outcome.

We are positive that this is just the beginning of what may be a long battle, but one that ultimately will end with a place for our dogs to run. The amount of people who showed up today certainly shows that this issue can't just be tabled and ignored. We plan to continue working with the community to find a solution that satisfies the majority. Please continue to give feedback and ideas to help this take place.

Given that this issue is clearly larger than just Vetter Park, our new email is Please contact us there with any input/suggestions. Thanks.
Thanks again for all your hard work and support!

Comment by betsy k andersen on April 20, 2014 at 5:46pm

In regards to off leash hours at vetter park for the community and their dogs,i think this  would be a tremendous idea. the park should be for all people and some people have dogs. i have always wondered why all parks,star park for one, have prohibited dogs. its a form of discrimination that shouldn't have been instilled.a large part of coronado's population are dog owners. you can't always go to dog beach as then you spend hours cleaning up after. the cays has been very successful with their off leash park. why not vetter too at certain hours? betsy andersen

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