Barking Dog Plan Has City Seal of Approval

City will try to run off seals from Children's Pool in La Jolla

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The city of San Diego is planning to use tape recordings of barking dogs to try to drive the harbor seals away from Children's Pool in La Jolla.

The city will dog the 200 or so marine mammals with the aid of the tape-recorded canines from 6 a.m. until sundown, said Bill Harris, who is a spokesman for Mayor Jerry Sander's office. The city had to wait until the end of pupping season earlier this month to move ahead with efforts to disperse the seals, but a judge still needs to sign off on the plan.

An attorney for the seal lovers said using the sound of barking dogs to scare away the seals is "the most humane plan" to disperse the animals. Brian Pease said it was better idea than having workers physically shoo away the seals. Still, Pease opposes any effort to remove the seals, saying that the state court judge who wll hear this latest chapter in the controversy does not have the authority to order the seals dispersed because a federal court judge has ruled that the seals can stay on the beach.

So, how much can the tape recording and water hoses cost, right? How about nearly 700 grand?  Why so much?

"The costs of seal dispersal and safety coverage for the dispersal employee or contractor, based on the proposed fiscal year 2010 salaries and benefits and not including overtime or holiday pay or non-personnel expenses for city staff is estimated at $688,934," reads the city's compliance plan.

A hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday in Department 60 at the Hall of Justice in downtown San Diego.

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