SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A dispute between Santa Barbara County and a local businessman has left local dog owners frustrated and confused. If a deal is not reached soon it could be the end of a very popular pet washing spot.
For the last 4 years, dog owners have been enjoying the self-service pet spa at Hendry's Beach. But in November that changed. The dog wash facility has been vacant after a dispute developed between the County and Ed Bertling, the owner of the pet spa.
"We have hundreds of people who use it, it's a great service for our community and I hate to see it shut down," Bertling said Sunday.
Bertling owns 3 self-service spas in Santa Barbara County. The large contingent of dog owners who had grown accustomed to the pay service have been left scratching their sandy dogs' heads
Amy Margon, a 20-year Santa Barbara resident, said she has been missing the spa. "I think this is a big issue and a lot of people are talking about it. We really loved the service and it's sad that it's gone."
Bertling's generosity within the Santa Barbara dog community is legendary. He's well connected to several non-profits and he's always willing to lend a helping hand.
Chris Erskine, a board member of the CARE4Paws non-profit, said "Ed has allowed CARE4Paws to hold events here in the past and 100 percent of the profits go to us."
According to Bertling, the specific financial issues holding up a possible resolution are complex, and NewsChannel 3's attempts to reach out to the County were unsuccessful. But after months of talks between attorneys, Bertling believes he only has one option left
"If nothing gets resolved by Tuesday, I'm going to start taking out the lights, and then start dismantling the rest of it. Then I plan to also file a lawsuit," Bertling said