After receiving petitions from residents asking for the change, the city of Vista is trying out a new “off-leash” policy at one of its community parks.
Under a trial program in effect since August, Buena Vista Park, located at 1601 Shadowridge Dr., now offers more off-leash space for dogs, allowing them to roam freely daily from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to dusk.
The off-leash trial program is supposed to last one year. Vista Deputy Mayor John Franklin said the city received petitions from residents asking for the off-leash policy and didn’t hear much opposition.
Oceanside resident Joe Voss frequently visits the park and said people are typically mindful of their pets, so the off-leash option – at least at this site – likely won’t cause problems.
“I’m all for it because up until this issue kind of came to the forefront because of a petition submitted to the city council, before that, it’s always been kind of a self-policing thing,” Voss said.
Franklin said he has received some complaints from Vista residents since the program began two months ago. Some residents are asking for the program to end, saying they didn’t even know it was planned until it was already happening.
Franklin recently started asking residents to share their thoughts on the off-leash policy. He created a poll via social media asking, “Should dogs be allowed off the leash at Buena Vista Park?”
More than 400 people replied. Of those people, 57 percent said they want dogs to be leashed at Buena Vista Park, but allowed to be off the leash at the nearby South Buena Vista Park on Mountain Circle Pass.
Meanwhile, 40 percent of those polled by the deputy mayor said they want the off-leash program to continue as is. The remaining 3 percent were unsure about their stance on the topic.
“There is plenty of space for dogs to run out there,” said Oceanside resident Kristie Murry. “Most of the dogs are friendly. If you have a vicious dog, keep them at home.”
Franklin said he’s trying to get to the heart of what residents want and what they’re concerned about when it comes to this matter.