SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- - Every afternoon at 4 p.m., you can find Mike Ryan at the Dusty Rhodes Dog Park in Ocean Beach. He says his six dogs have trained him to go there every day.
"We're an empty nest, but now we have dogs instead of kids, they're our new kids," said Ryan.
He says the dog park is a small community deeply loved by the dogs and their humans. That's why he and others are being vocal, frustrated over the city's maintenance of the park.
"Lack of watering number one, it always happens this time of year," said Ryan. "It's a city park and needs to be maintained as such."
Another major problem, dozens of gopher holes. And when the dogs try to catch the gophers, they make the holes even bigger.
"We've heard of injuries to dogs, broken legs," said Ryan. "My fear is I'm going to trip and break an ankle."
Dan Dennison is an Ocean Beach Planning Board Member. He agrees that the holes are a liability, and wants to see the park maintained better. With his new Facebook page, Make Dusty Rhodes Dog Parks Great and Green Again, Dennison hopes to bring the community together and help document the issues.
Tim Graham, Senior Public Information for the City of San Diego, says they're up against a lot of challenges trying to keep the dog park green and gopher-free. They say daily wear-and-tear makes it difficult for the turf to recover. They say the ground also has not recovered from the drought restrictions imposed in 2015.
Irrigation is another problem. The city says Dusty Rhodes was not created as a dedicated dog off leash area with a separate irrigation system and that target irrigation isn't possible.
The city says it's looking into other potential surfacing, like synthetic turf, sand or decomposed granite.
As for the gopher holes, the city is assessing what steps will need to be taken to address the issues. They say gopher holes are typically filled with dirt or sand but other measures may be considered. However, it is not the city's policy to use any restricted chemicals in order to address gopher infestations.
Dog owners like Ryan and Dennison say they will continue to put pressure on the city until the dogs get back their park.