by Craig Gustafson / SignOnSanDiego.com / June 1, 2009
A federal court has ruled the city of San Diego is prohibited from harassing or dispersing the entrenched seal colony at Children’s Pool beach in La Jolla.
The court had previously issued a restraining order against the city, but there had been a question as to whether it remained in effect.
The City Attorney’s Office issued a statement Monday that the federal court clarified that the order is still in place. The city had sought clarification after Superior Court Judge Yuri Hofmann ordered the city to remove the seals last week.
Monday’s decision effectively puts on hold the city’s proposal to oust the seals using the sounds of barking dogs. It also allows time for a bill going through the state Legislature that would give the City Council the authority to decide how the beach should be used.
“This underscores our position since February of this year that the solution to this dilemma is through state legislation that allows the city to decide the use of this beach,” read the statement from the City Attorney’s Office. “We believe it is prudent to put all litigation on hold pending the State of California’s action, as owner of this beach, to change the terms of the trust.”
The City Council is scheduled to review that plan June 9.
Voice of San Diego adds: that the restraining order may not last
…by the time a state court holds a hearing June 15 on the city’s plan to disperse the pinnipeds, said Bryan Pease, an attorney for the La Jolla Friends of Seals.
A little background: Last fall, San Diego Superior Court Judge Yuri Hofmann ruled that the city of San Diego had to immediately disperse the seals to return the manmade cove to a place for children to swim. But Pease’s organization obtained a court order from U.S. District Judge William Hayes prohibiting the seals’ removal.
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