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It is springtime in Downtown Long Beach, and folks are eager to get outside and enjoy the amenities of our fair city. Surely, the growing population of Downtown
dogs feels the same; Canines are always grateful when owners take them out to see the sights and smells, get some exercise, and, inevitably, to “do their business.” By being considerate of neighbors and following some simple rules, you can treat your bowzer buddy to a great walk and keep our public spaces clean, healthy, and smelling fresh.

 

First order of “business”: It is not only common courtesy and good public hygiene to scoop your dog’s poop, but it is also required by law in Long Beach. According to Long Beach Municipal Code 6.16.200, “No person responsible for any animal shall permit such animal to defecate on any public sidewalk, street, improvement, park or other public place… unless such person responsible for the animal removes any such defecation to a proper trash receptacle.”

Most dog owners have formed a good habit of grabbing doggy bags whenever they reach for the leash, but in case bags get left behind, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s Clean Team members keep doggy bag dispensers supplied weekly along well-traveled dog walk routes — make use of them if you forget your own. For instance, Victory and Santa Cruz parks, the green spaces that line a large portion of the south side of Ocean Boulevard in Downtown, have waste disposal stations available (see photo). This assures that the park, which is adjacent to residences and businesses, can be kept clean by considerate dog walkers.

 

When it’s time for your dog to take care of business, do your best to lead it to a tree well or a patch of grass instead of a light pole, fire hydrant or storefront building. The same way you have trained your dog not to conduct business in the house is the same way over time you can train them to have a favorite tree, patch of grass or planter. This extra effort on your part will eliminate bad odors, lessen the chance of insect-borne diseases, and reduce damage to the Downtown infrastructure. It’s true! Dog urine is corrosive and stains metal and other public and private surfaces. Now, sometimes there is no stopping Fido’s need for quick relief but consider that for every piddle or leg lift, an exponential number of his/her furry friends now have a marker to match so there’s a witch’s brew of smells being added to the already-exotic scents found in our urban mecca.

 

While most people share your love of dogs and welcome the opportunity to pet your pup, consider those who’ve had a bad experience or are seriously allergic to dogs and may not want them rushing up to play. That consideration extends to other dogs as well who may be skittish around more animated or overly friendly dogs. No matter the reason, it is your job to make sure your dog is leashed and under control around other dogs and humans.

 

For those who yearn to see their dog run free, there are three Downtown dog parks in which canines can go off-leash; K-9 Corner Dog Park, at the corner of Pacific Avenue and 9th Street; Pike Park Dog Park, on 195 West Seaside Way; and Seaside Dog Zone, at 450 East Seaside Way. These parks offer separate areas and entries for large and small dogs, drinking fountains for dogs and humans, and waste disposal bags for when it’s time to do business. They are great spaces for both dogs and humans to socialize but still require your watchful eye to ensure your dog is not misbehaving. Nothing gets on the nerves of your fellow dog park enthusiasts like not picking up after your dog or allowing it to bully other dogs.

 

Next time you’re out with your dog in Downtown shared spaces, please take the time to observe these common-sense, common-courtesy rules. That way, you and your canine companion will be contributing to the vitality of Downtown while keeping it clean and nice for other walkers, be they human or doggo, neighbor or visitor.