Judge says seals at San Diego beach should be protected

April 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM

SAN DIEGO, April 13 (UPI) -- A San Diego judge has ruled an area of a beach in the La Jolla, Calif., neighborhood must be roped off year-round for seals.

Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman sided with the Animal Protection and Rescue League, ruling Friday a rope barrier should be in place at the Children's Pool year-round to keep people away from the seals, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"We are thrilled the seals will now have a rope barrier protecting them year-round from harassment and disturbance," said Bryan Pease, attorney for the Animal Protection and Rescue League.

The rope barrier has previously been in place only during the November-to-May pupping season.

The animal protection organization had been in a contentious battle with the San Diego Planning Commission since 2010, when the commission ruled the barrier was only needed during pupping season.

Those who oppose the barrier say the beach is meant for children and the seals and their droppings pose public health issues. They also argue the barrier restricts access from the beach to the water.

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