As I follow the unfolding dog leash saga, the howls coming from the dog lobby seem to be expressing an attitude of “me, my and mine.” It’s hard to believe that a majority of Scarborough voters have taken such a hard line in opposition to the better interest of a tiny bird that is near extinction. Plovers have been part of the Maine seascape for hundreds of years. Once they become extinct, Maine loses an important part of its history. The majority of voters seem to say, “Who cares? My interests are more important than some bird.”

But there are other concerned parties that are affected by the presence of unleashed dogs, like toddlers who are are fearful of a dog that is larger than they are and the elderly that are afraid that a dog will knock them over. Some of the existing rules just don’t make sense: for instance, the sunrise-to-9 a.m. rule that allows unleashed dogs on the beach. I guess it’s assumed that a newly hatched bird taking its first run to the ocean can survive an early-morning gauntlet of free-roaming dogs. Is this the best thinking of the majority of Scarborough voters?

Perhaps the establishment of dog runs would be a reasonable alternative. Interestingly, dog owners are currently walking unleashed dogs at Crescent Beach in spite of a sign indicating “no dogs allowed” at the front entrance of this state beach. Question: Is this an indication of responsible, unselfish, law-abiding behavior? You be the judge.

Robert McManus


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