New Seals Suit Filed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCSanDiego

    An animal-rights lawyer is suing to get the rope barrier back in place at the La Jolla Children’s Pool.

    A hearing Wednesday will hear arguments in the lawsuit filed by attorney Bryan Pease demanding the immediate return of the rope that separated animals from seals along the La Jolla shoreline.

    San Diego’s city council voted in favor of an emergency permit at the beach but Mayor Jerry Sanders said the city should go through the normal permit process, which could take six months and involve the California Coastal Commission.

    The suit claims Mayor Sanders didn’t have the authority to decide against replacing the rope under emergency conditions.

    At times, more than 100 of the marine mammals are visible at the Children's Pool, which is polluted with their feces. Some longtime residents say the seals should be moved off the beach because it's for people.

    “If you close the beach or put a barrier up, it denies access to the beach and the water which is mandated by California law," said La Jolla resident John Steel.

    The rope was installed Dec. 17, 2009 after years of courtroom battles.

    In November 2009, Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor ruled the seal colony at Children's Pool in La Jolla to remain. He also vacated the 2005 order against the city to remove the seals and reconfigure the beach at Children's Pool.

    Superior Court Judge Yuri Hofmann had previously ruled that the seals must go, in July 2009. City officials said at that time that they'd spend up to $700,000 to scare them off with the recorded sounds of barking dogs.

    In his November ruling, Judge Taylor said a state law, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in July, gave San Diego the power to allow the seal colony to remain. The law, which took effect in January 2010, permits the cove to be designated as a marine park.

    The area has been owned by the state since it was placed in a trust in 1931, provided it be used as a "bathing pool for children."

    In 1997 the city posted a warning that the cove shouldn't be used because of seal waste bacteria.

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