Dusty Rhodes Dog Park: Brown Grass, Gopher Holes, and Weeds – Locals Want to See Change

by on May 8, 2017 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach

Locals and their dogs gathered on Sunday May 7th — despite the rain — to protest the current condition of Dusty Rhodes dog park. Unless otherwise accredited, all photos are by South OB Girl.

By South OB Girl

Despite the rain, protesters gathered Sunday afternoon, May 7th, to protest the current conditions at Dusty Rhodes Dog Park.

Some locals are quite upset about the current condition of Dusty Rhodes dog park. They would like to see the City maintain it. The grass is not looking very green these days.

Their message was clear: they would like to see green grass (and not brown), and they would like to see the rampant gopher holes taken care of and weeds removed. Dusty Rhodes Dog Park is a City park, and locals would like to see it treated as such.

If you look across the street from the dog park, Robb Field is green and lush. But watering of Dusty Rhodes Dog Park has been cut out as a response to the drought.

Mike Ryan placed orange flags at each gopher hole.

Thankfully the rain should help perk the dog park up to a shade of green. But it may return again to a color of brown as the rain ceases once again.

Mike Ryan.

With as many dogs and dog owners as the beach area has, the dog park most certainly has an integral role for the community. It provides a safe place for dogs to run and socialize (as well as a place for people to socialize too).

Dan Dennison with his dog Toto.

As long as the pet owners are responsible and mindful of the their dogs’ behavior, going to the park can be a pleasant experience for dogs and humans. The fenced in space at the dog park is a safe zone for the animals to run and play. It is safe from traffic and a safe place away from rattle snakes and coyotes. The hope would be that the dog park is a nice open park space, without gopher holes and weeds, where dogs can run and play.

At Dusty Rhodes Dog Park that is currently not the case.

Mike Ryan, former Peninsula Community Planning Board member, and Dan Dennison, current Ocean Beach Planning Board member, are at the helm of the protest effort.

Gopher at Dusty Rhodes Dog Park. Photo Cred: Dan Dennison.

Currently dogs end up with burrs in their fur. The many, many gopher holes are a hazard for dogs and humans to trip and injure themselves. Mike himself has a story of his chair tipping over in a gopher hole at the dog park, and he knows of a few stories of animals injuring themselves in the gopher holes too. The gopher holes also make play time more difficult for dogs with wheel chair devices (wheel attachments are used for some animals as a means of getting around).

Devoted dog park fans feel that the dog park should be given as much attention as the soccer fields and other parks. They feel that park space for dogs to run and play is just as important as other park space.

Dusty Rhodes Dog Park is one of the first things people see as they enter OB or Point Loma off the 8 freeway or Sea World Drive. Currently this is a mostly brown landscape.

But the problems are more than dead grass. The weeds and gopher holes are not what locals would like to see in a park which is supposed to be maintained by the City. With Dennison and Ryan leading the effort, protesters hope to make Dusty Rhodes Dog Park a park they can be proud of and enjoy.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Christo May 8, 2017 at 12:40 pm

While I agree that the dog park should be watered and maintained, I have a couple questions.
1) How does a chain link fence stop rattle snakes?
2) Does the rest of Dusty Rhodes park have a gopher problem?
3) How do you not see a gopher hole before putting your chair down?
4) Are you seriously equating dogs with human children?


South OB Girl May 8, 2017 at 2:05 pm

I hope that was a general “you;” this article
was a factual report about these activists and their concerns. I am not a rattle snake expert, but grassy fields are not rattle snakes’ usual domain (trails in canyons would be more risky for dogs and people to encounter rattle snakes ). Personally am not a gopher expert or gopher hole expert, but all accounts indicate that the holes can be pesky. Lastly, there are humans that definitely consider their pets to be like children (perhaps not everybody can comprehend or relate to that, but it is true).


Mike Ryan May 8, 2017 at 4:18 pm

1. LOL I agree with your comment but this was taken from a city website about the benefits of dog parks
2. OMG yes and Robb Field too
3. Simple when there are so many holes. This happened twice to me and the second time I really hurt my shoulder trying to catch myself.
4. To some people yes their pets are very much loved like a child.


SaneVoice May 8, 2017 at 1:42 pm

Robb Field has a problem with gopher holes and it cost the taxpayers $$$



Dr. Jack Hammer May 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm

First World Problems…


Debbie May 8, 2017 at 8:50 pm

Glad to see people get involved in stand up for what is important to them. Now you need to join the rec council and put a plan of action in place for volunteers and maintenance and lobby funds from the council rep etc.

As for chairs, remember when the city removed benches from Sunset Cliffs because they did not conform to approved seating? Why does the city allow people to bring and leave any ole chair at the park? Is that not a liability as are the gopher holes?


embo May 8, 2017 at 11:58 pm

Park maintenance in that park is contracted out (low bid).


Cindy Ryan May 9, 2017 at 8:07 am

Yes. It doesn’t mean literally dusty roads. All dogs need to breathe and have a safe place to run.


kh May 9, 2017 at 12:06 pm

I support this 100%. The park is in sad shape. I heard they finally turned the sprinklers back on, or at least it was getting green after the rains, but any grass there is long dead. I don’t go there because the conditions are terrible, instead I take my dog to other places they aren’t actually allowed.

The park is heavily used by not just dogs, but by their owners who are SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS, so it deserves attention from Parks and Rec. If anything it should be prioritized over lesser used areas.

Would it be more manageable if the park was split into two equally sized fenced areas, and the dog park was alternated between them every 6 months or so? It’s plenty large, especially if including the weird area on the west end… This would allow the other half to stay closed for recuperating and maintenance… assuming that would be posted/enforced and respected by the users. Might be too much to ask.


South OB Girl May 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

The Dusty Rhodes Park & Recreation Council would love to hear your concerns and suggestions “kh.” Details for their meeting: Thursday May 25th, 5:30 pm, OB Rec Center 4726 Santa Monica Ave.


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