Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach celebrates 16 years of puppy paradise

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Rosie's Dog Beach is celebrating 16 years of puppy paradise in Long Beach. Justin Rudd founded Rosie's in 2003, and it is still the only off-leash dog beach in Los Angeles County.

"I moved to Long Beach 21 years ago, I was a runner and I was running on the beach in Long Beach. I noticed the amounts of trash that was on the beach and the few numbers of people going to the beach, so I thought, 'why don't I just bring my dog over here?'" said Rudd. "But I also knew that it was not legal to have your dog on the beach. I said, 'I gotta find a way to do this.'"

In 2001, Justin did his research and found out there was a loophole in the city code. Dogs were allowed on beaches in Long Beach, but only during a special event.

"I decided to hold a series of events and prove to the city that dogs can be having fun on the beach, that it would be safe, clean and that people would come and love hanging out there," said Rudd. "And they did"

After two years of holding pet-friendly events on the beach, Long Beach City Council approved Justin's plan. In 2010, the city re-named the 4-acre stretch of Pacific coastline to Rosie's Dog Beach after Rudd's late bulldog.

"Rosie was my first bulldog. We did everything together. and she enjoyed going to the beach. She was in her happy place when she was there. She would frolic in the water and play with people."

Rosie was 12 when she passed away in 2010. Today, Justin and his 6-year-old bulldog, Potus, take on the pet-friendly city of Long Beach together.

Rudd organizes over 60 non-profit events in the Long Beach area every year, such as the Long Beach Turkey Trot and the Haute Dogs Howl'oween Parade. Rosie's Dog Beach will always hold a special place in his heart.

"You know, when I hear people mention Rosie's and I'm thinking, that's cool. That was my dog."

The Alabama native said visitors travel all the way from Las Vegas to check out Rosie's Dog Beach with their furry friends. On most sunny weekends, Justin said you can find over 200 pups playing in the sand.

"It's kind of like a Doggy Disneyland."
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