Tuesday, March 11, 2014
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Petition organizer Katy Foley announces results of a signature-gathering effort for a referendum to overturn a controversial new townwide, year-round leash law in Scarborough on Wednesday.
Kelley Bouchard/Staff Writer
Jane Forner, visiting from Saratoga, New York, walks her dog Ebony with a leash on Scarborough’s Ferry Beach recently.
Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
“It’s time for the council to step aside and let the people vote,” said Liam Somers, a resident who helped to gather signatures. He said the petition is “a mandate to be heard.”
Sharman Kivatsky spoke in favor of the new law, saying that she represents people who want to enjoy the town’s beaches without being “accosted by a free-roaming dog.”
Kivatsky, who lives near three beaches, said it’s an assault when a dog jumps on a person and “puts its nose where it doesn’t belong.”
The council voted 5-2 on Oct. 2 to approve a consent agreement that aims to save the town from paying a $12,000 fine to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The townwide leash law was approved by a 4-3 vote as an amendment to the agreement.
Under the agreement, the town must pay a $500 fine; develop public education and municipal staff training programs about plovers; and create and fund a position for a part-time piping plover coordinator for at least five years starting next spring.
The coordinator will work 20 hours a week, from April 1 through Aug. 31, to monitor the plover population and dog activity and to recruit and coordinate volunteer observers.
Several residents at Wednesday’s meeting questioned the rationale behind the settlement, including Martin Tripp, who said he opposed the consent agreement as a concerned taxpayer.
Tripp noted that hiring a plover coordinator, building dog parks and putting up new signs for the new leash law will cost a lot more than $12,000.
“I’d pay the $12,000 fine and promise I’d do better,” Tripp said.
Kelley Bouchard can be reached at 791-6328 or: