City attorney supports nighttime closure of the Children's Pool in La Jolla

Mayor issued order after abuse caught on video

La Jolla, Calif. - City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said Thursday he would defend Mayor Bob Filner's emergency order to close the Children's Pool in La Jolla between sunset and sunrise, issued Tuesday in response to alleged abuse of harbor seals captured on videotape.

The recently installed seal cam captured images of people breaching a rope barrier at night, kicking, punching and sitting on top of the mother seals and their pups, and driving them from their resting places, according to Filner's office.

The nighttime closure is set to remain in effect until May 15, the official end of seal pupping season, according to Filner.

Goldsmith said although he would have preferred to have been consulted before the mayor took action, he agreed that protecting the seals was important.

"I have seen the videos of the seal abuse and I am appalled," Goldsmith said in the statement. "Once we receive information as to the identity of these perpetrators, they will be brought to justice."

He urged beachgoers to obey the closure order, which the City Attorney's Office fully intended to enforce.

On April 12, beach access advocates will seek an injunction to the order to close the area and to a previous order to lengthen the guide rope barrier, put in place to discourage people from going onto the beach to disturb seals during pupping season.

According to the City Attorney's Office, the defendant's motion for a temporary restraining order had been defeated.

Harbor seals took over the beach in the early 1990s, causing strife between animal rights activists and beach-access advocates.

Animal rights groups have claimed videotaped documentation of people annoying the seals on the beach.

The seal cam was recently placed on a lifeguard tower that's slated for demolition. Its images are frequently broadcast on CityTV, the city of San Diego's cable outlet.

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