University approves updated Non-research Animal Policy

Policy includes prohibition of domestic animals on Coastal Science Campus

Effective Aug. 1, dogs and other domesticated animals will no longer be allowed at the UC Santa Cruz Coastal Science Campus under a policy reviewed and approved by campus leaders. The prohibition is in accordance with the campus Coastal Long Range Development Plan (CLRDP) that was approved by the California Coastal Commision in 2009.

The updated policy aligns the Coastal Science Campus with the restriction on domestic animals at the main campus. The policy exempts service animals, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

This policy change generated strong interest from community members who walk their dogs on the coastal trails. University leaders carefully reviewed extensive feedback as well as the original environmental studies that recommended the domestic animal prohibition for the Coastal Science Campus.

"This is a big change for the community and I appreciate the input and concern that has been raised by many who don't want to see the change," Chancellor George Blumenthal said. "Following extensive consultation with staff and thoughtful consideration to the mission of the Younger Lagoon Reserve program, the policy change aligns with the vision for the campus that includes extensive restoration of the land to its native coastal habitat. This space will be used for teaching and research and to train the next generation of scientists and coastal conservationists."

The CLRDP required that nearly three-quarters of the site be protected as a natural reserve and restored to native habitats. The campus has committed to implementing a major, 20-year restoration plan on the Younger Lagoon Reserve.

In the past and as an exception to the University Non-Research Animal Policy, leashed dogs have been permitted on the site's public access trails. However, many dog owners have not complied with this and off-leash dogs are particularly disruptive to wildlife, teaching and research activities.

The campus will continue with an education campaign to let visitors know about the policy change and that domestic animals are no longer allowed on the campus including the trails. People who bring non-service animals on site, especially owners who allow their dogs off leash, may be cited. The campus anticipates that citations will at a minimum be $50 plus applicable court costs.