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Are Dogs Taking Over Fashion Island?

It's not unusual to hear barking inside Anthropologie or find a pet peeking from its owner's purse during an Apple store workshop.

Do you think Fashion Island has gone to the dogs?

The upscale mall seems to have laid out the welcome mat for dogs because, on any given day, the critters pop up so often that some shoppers refer to it as "Orange County's Dog Mall."

Fashion Island’s outdoor design coupled with a dog-friendly policy that encompasses all outdoor public areas has, no doubt, drawn local dog owners and those who otherwise wouldn’t visit the mall. The water bowls and treats that some stores offer are the icing on the cake, and the large patch of grass near the Neiman Marcus Bloomingdale’s Courtyard is an extra bonus to the mall's four-legged friends.

On a recent Sunday, I counted 48 dogs in less than 20 minutes roaming around Fashion Island. All of the barking, growling and socializing made it feel a little like a dog park.

Shoppers seemed to have mixed emotions.

Anthony and Aileen Perez, first-time visitors from Huntington Beach, say they love to shop at Fashion Island with their dog, Hope, because of the dog-friendly restaurants.

But Douglas and Connie Anderson don't agree.

“I’m not crazy about it. It’s too hard to shop especially when they’re inside the stores,”  Connie Anderson said.

Douglas Anderson has his own qualms. “I think the people that bring dogs here, come to show off,” he said.

It’s obvious the dogs at Fashion Island are accustomed to going everywhere with their owners, especially with their designer pet strollers in tow. Holly McCabe said she likes bringing Sophie, her English lab, to the mall because she likes being around people.

But local resident Diana Ensley has a problem with the poop the pups leave behind.

“I am upset when I have to walk around a pile of poop that hasn’t been cleaned up," Ensley said. "It’s bad enough pushing a wheelchair and now I have to worry about running over dog messes!”

A Macy’s employee, who declined to give her name, said she receives complaints about dogs all the time.

Fashion Island management did not respond to inquiries about its dog policy and complaints, or lack thereof.

So what do you think? Are four legged shoppers a bane or a bonus at Fashion Island?

Jane Terry January 12, 2013 at 06:06 PM
I see a good friend of mine posting support for this, but I differ. While it was "cute" at first, their uncontrolled behaviors are becoming increasingly annoying. First, I think the lawns were a bad idea. The dogs poop and pee, and children run barefoot on the lawn. I think designated doggie poop/pee areas would be more appropriate than an open lawn. Children can't resist the lawn, and young parents don't seem to realize it is a dumping station (right next to Bloomie's wonderful sidewalk cafe, no less). Plus, I miss the European "plaza" feel with the open spaces that were there before; now you have to navigate walkways that don't fit more than 4 across. Secondly, the smaller dogs are not always visible as shoppers eyes are not always lowered, and there is an accident waiting to happen (ie, a foreseeable risk lawsuit). Someone is going to trip over the leash as the owner browses one side of the aisle/walkway and dogs roam the other side. Finally, if you read the earlier postings, you can get an idea of some of the dog owner's attitudes. While some are respectful, others are downright belligerent, and the latter of these often make me uncomfortable. Some owners act offended when asked to "contain' their dog, or get them off the chairs. They make a fuss, and leave the establishment in a huff (rather than simply contain their dog). I too am weary of the dogs. Now, if they were well-trained dogs, that would be another story!
Kelly Sawyer "Animal Defender" January 12, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Letter to Newport Beach Supervisor of Animal Control - Failure to Provide Required Medical Treatment of Russo's Pet Store Kitten https://www.facebook.com/notes/kelly-sawyer/letter-to-newport-beach-superviso any and all concerned Newport Citizens regarding city staff report fraud or unlawful and inhumane treatment of animals by the city of Newport Beach can contact me humanechange4newportbeach@gmail.com..... there MUST BE CITIZEN OVERSIGHT OF ANIMAL CARE IN OUR CITY TO PROTECT COMPANIONS FROM UNLAWFUL INHUMANE TREATMENT. THE CITY HAS GROSSLY FAILED and turned over animal care to criminals in every facet of the city including our shelter which was found under formal investigation by city of Costa Mesa to have sustained allegations of Unlawful, unethical and substandard treatment of animals and has refused the aid of numerous reputable rescues attempting to rescue them from O.C. Humane Society Care.-- Don't give your money to "pick a pet "either-- it's not registered as tax deductible charitable foundation as the city says and is run by unknown account of unknown name-- Head AC officer told me THERE IS NO ONE TO CONTACT- STATE HAS NO RECORD- all three AC's have been concerns of citizens discussed with Chief Johnson and Manager Kiff and there is OF COURSE, NO RESOLVE. Letter to Newport Beach Supervisor of Animal Control - Failure to Provide Required Medical Treatment of Russo's Pet Store Kitten https://www.facebook.com/notes/kelly-sawyer/letter-to-newport-beach-superv
Kelly Sawyer "Animal Defender" January 12, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Lol!... Newport Loves their canines... love thy neighbor.... even ones with FUR! :)
Robert Barrett January 13, 2013 at 08:04 PM
There are way too many dogs at Fashion Island. And, it's bad enough that they are outdoors, but seeing gigantic dogs inside stores is just too much. In addition, it isn't just Fashion Island. A few months ago, my wife and I were in Bloomingdales at South Coast Plaza, upstairs in the ladies wear area, when we came across a GIGANTIC dog. I kid you not, this dog was more like a SMALL HORSE it was so enormous. What is with people? Are they so insecure that they need their dogs with them every minute of the day? Just wait until one of these pooches horribly bites a child. Maybe then something will be done about this ridiculous dog friendly policy that has gone way, way too far.
CDC April 25, 2013 at 09:33 PM
anti-child mall or my favorite Fascist Island

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