March 24, 2019
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Residents have mixed feedback on proposed beach leash law

CBS 13 | BDN
CBS 13 | BDN
A beach goer clips a leash to her dog's collar on a Maine beach. Residents who turned out at a Saco City Council meeting Monday offered mixed feedback on a proposal to require dogs be on leashes at the beach at all times between April and September.

A public hearing at Monday’s Saco City Council meeting discussed a proposed leash law which would require all dogs to be leashed from April until September.

Saco city councilors say the proposal follows months of work and agreements with federal agencies to dredge sand from local rivers to reinforce Camp Ellis. They say the additional sand would go towards preventing beach erosion, flooding, and would help provide nesting territory for the endangered piping plover birds.

Some residents of Saco say they aren’t sure why the leash law needs to be affected by the dredging or sand.

“I don’t see how they are related to each other. This is just an example of the federal government trying to bully a law into place to make their work easier,” Katy Foley, a Scarborough resident, said.

“This is not a done deed that will cure the problem for Camp Ellis. All that sand is being pushed towards Pine Point Beach, and then they will have to dredge again,” Jane Kearns, a Saco Resident, said.

Saco city councilors say that federal agencies are listing the leash law as “mandatory” to be able to complete the work, and bring the sand to Camp Ellis. Some locals say it seems like they are holding the sand for ransom.

“They should put that sand where the town needs it, and it’s the right thing to do, not because they’re holding something over your head,” Foley said.

Others say they don’t mind the law, and that dogs without leashes can cause problems on the beach.

“Not all dogs are controllable by voice, many are, some are not,” Mark Gross, a Saco resident, said.

Others say they just want to see the preservation of Camp Ellis, regardless of the cost.

Saco city councilors say that they are still unsure about the law, and that they will try to see if their agreement with the government can be revisited to prevent a leash law from being needed.

The second and final reading will take place on August 20.

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