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Walkin’ the Dog on Santa Cruz’s Pacific Avenue!

“I’m gonna show you how to walk the dog” (YouTube video), Rufus Thomas, “Walking the Dog

I have said before that one of our favorite towns is Santa Cruz.

That said, I should note that, if Santa Cruz were any farther “Left” on the “Left Coast,” it would be “out to sea!:-)

Therefore, I was genuinely SURPRISED today to learn that there was a 35-year BAN on dogs, even leashed, licensed dogs, on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz! You have to remember that I once worked at Netscape, where dogs were welcome, and where I once took a Rottweiler puppy, “Chewy,” that we owned (just because I COULD)! Netscape was a place where “BJ,” a “good boy,” a Border Collie, and a an excellent “herder,” once played soccer against Netscape Tech Support staff.

So… what the heck happened to Santa Cruz?!!! :-)

Santa Cruz is a town that “… has called for a presidential impeachment, termination of a war and an end to nuclear weapons.” (Yeah, I’m SURE that the “Right Coast” was listening…) :-) So what did it have against “man’s best friend” on Pacific Avenue?

The L.A. Times article notes that some believe the REAL targets of the 35-year-old law were the homeless people on Pacific Avenue, who sometimes had dogs. The tyranny of the Left can sometimes look a lot like the tyranny of the Right. 😉

“A lot of opposition to dogs was because they didn’t feel we’d properly leashed the homeless,” said Whitney Wilde, leader of a Santa Cruz pro-dog group called Woofers and Walkers.

OK, I have carefully used the “past tense” in a lot of key places, above. What has CHANGED? :-)

Last year, the Downtown Association business group urged the city to take another look at the dog ban. It turns out that the “dog police” on Pacific Avenue had been TURNING AWAY about 30 people per month (Hey! That’s ONE per DAY!) from the businesses that line Pacific Avenue, the “main drag” of this great beach town! In contrast, in cities like Carmel-by-the-Sea, businesses have been placing water bowls outside their shops for thirsty canines! The L.A. Times article notes that:

Santa Cruz, it appeared, was losing both good money and good karma.

Bad Vibrations? In “Surf City?” (YouTube video; Jan and Dean, “Surf City“) :-) I BELIEVE in a watered-down, Western sort of Karma!

“It’s not strictly based on dollars,” said Joe Ferrara, a director of the Downtown Assn. and owner of the Atlantis Fantasyworld comic book shop. “We want people to come downtown with dogs and go home to tell their friends how charming it is. It’s a positive experience that doesn’t have to do with the exchange of money.”

“A lot of people go to Disneyland,” Ferrara said, “and don’t go on even one ride.”

We all know that you can’t do away with ONE rule without creating AT LEAST ONE other rule! :-) The NEW rules are that dogs must be kept on leashes no longer than 6 feet and cannot be tied up while their humans go into a store. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs – which raises MORE CONTROVERSY in this town that LOVES controversy. Who will make sure that the cleanup laws are enforced EQUALLY? :-)

If Santa Cruz dropped into the Pacific Ocean tomorrow (a REAL possibility!), :-) my wife and I would miss it terribly.

If it ever becomes financially feasible for me to retire there, I will give it serious thought.

And I, for one, am really glad that this little “inconsistency” about banning dogs from Pacific Avenue seems to have been resolved….

For now! :-)

-Bill at

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