SCARBOROUGH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Scarborough Town Council heard a proposal to further restrict beach access for dogs. The proposed ordinance change would require dogs to be on a leash at all times during the summer.
Dogs are currently banned from Scarborough beaches in the summer after 9 a.m. During the morning hours, dogs are able to run free. This proposal could change that. The rule change was proposed in response to the killing of an endangered piping plover by a dog during off-leash hours in July. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife has fined the town twelve thousand dollars. The council heard from several people Wednesday night, most of them speaking in favor of keeping off-leash hours. Council Chair Ronald Ahlquist says the council is still in active negotiations with the federal government to come up with some kind of compromise.
"We were on top of this thing, we were all over it" Ahlquist said. "And we're disappointed that they put such a large fine on us when we were well on our way to resolving this, we thought. So is that pushing us along? Maybe a little bit. But the fact of the matter is we were going to do the right thing and we still are doing the right thing."
Ahlquist says he can't discuss the negotiations, but says the town is seeking a lesser fine, and the town will still likely see some new restrictions to the dog rules on beaches. No vote was taken Wednesday. A public hearing and vote has been rescheduled for October 2nd.