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Sea lion stench: Sea life and humans clash in health hazard lawsuit

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Sea lion stench at San Diego's La Jolla Cove has prompted at least two businesses to file a lawsuit against the city over the mammals' waste. They do not feel that the city has done enough to solve the problem and they claim it drives away customers.

FOX News reports Dec. 28 that La Valencia Hotel and the restaurant George's at the Cove have just filed suit in San Diego County Superior Court. The business owners said not only is the sea lion stench keeping customers away, but presents a public health risk as well.

Restaurant owner George Hauer said the city has told him for two years that the they were going to resolve the problem, but there has not been a specific plan put in motion.

"We consider this to be a potential health hazard and a serious public nuisance, and we have faced the resulting financial hardships for too long," Hauer said. "We've run out of patience."

Hauer said he and the other businesses are not seeking money from the city, but want them to get serious about executing an odor-abatement plan he believes they have come up with. For some unknown reason it has not been a priority whatsoever.

Alex Roth, a spokesman for interim Mayor Todd Gloria, cannot comment about the sea lion stench lawsuit.

"We are well aware this is a problem impacting businesses and quality of life in La Jolla," Roth said. "We are actively working toward a solution. No options are off the table."

In 2012, businesses around La Jolla also "complained that guano from pelicans, gulls and other birds was raising a stink," according to the report. The city did hire a company to "spray a bacterial solution to dissolve the waste."

While it is a legitimate concern for businesses that unfavorable odors threaten their profit margin, sea life is not always pleasantly fragrant and there is some give and take in order to enjoy nature. If the city has assured business owners that the sea lion stench would be taken care of, however, they have an obligation to carry through.

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