NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) --It may soon be easier to let your dog enjoy the surf and sand in Orange County as a proposal for an exemption to the county's leash law may go into effect.
It's an unofficial dog beach. Some even describe the area between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach - near the mouth of the Santa Ana River- as a theme park for canines.
But neighbors have complained about the off-leash pets and have asked the city of Newport Beach to enforce the leash law on the county-owned land.
"It was confusing to people as to who enforces the rules, who decides the rules, and people have actually been using this area as a de-facto dog beach," said Matthew Harper, an assemblyman of the 74th district.
But the city is not taking over enforcement and on Friday, Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steal announced a proposed ordinance that would allow the county to designate "off leash" areas. The location at issue would then be an official dog beach that would not require leashes.
"It's common sense because it's a dog beach. Just let them be free," she said.
While many dog owners welcomed the change, some neighbors said they are concerned about safety.
"I have dogs pee on my house every day. I have dog poop in front of my house. "My main concern is I can't leave my front door or my garage without protecting my daughter or my dogs," said Vivien Hyman of Newport Beach.
Hyman explained she's had several run-ins with loose dogs.
"I've had dogs run up to my child who's pulled two dogs off of her. That's my main concern when people don't follow the leash laws - you just don't know what can happen," she said.
Newport Beach said it would assist with appropriate signage and doggie bags.
Steel was expected to introduce the ordinance on April 26, and with a majority vote, it could go into effect in June.