(U-T SAN DIEGO) At least two businesses have joined to sue San Diego over the stench from sea-lion waste at La Jolla Cove, accusing the city of not acting promptly to find a consistent and comprehensive solution.

The litigation marks the latest chapter in a long-running debate on how to balance the rights of animals protected by federal and state rules with the concerns of merchants in the area, who said the overpowering odor from sea lions — as well as birds — not only drives away customers but also poses a public-health risk.

The controversy has garnered international attention, with the likes of CNN, “The Tonight Show,” The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph in London and others weighing in. It’s also a companion newsmaker to the perennial dissension at nearby Children’s Pool beach, where people have for years argued over whether seals or humans should have prime access to the site.

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