Those who want Scarborough to continue to allow unleashed dogs on our beaches are vehement. But I hope the Animal Control Advisory Committee and our Town Council members understand this issue is not really about the plovers.

Many people who use our beaches feel terrorized by out-of-control dogs, although only a few of our residents may have spoken up publicly in support of a leash law. People are as intimidated by the vehemence as they are by the free-ranging packs of dogs.

Yet they have spoken. Of the 3,939 people who voted in December, nearly a third, 1,059, came out for a special election, to support a leash law they felt was long overdue. They knew it was a lost cause, but their vote expressed their belief that we should finally address an ever-growing problem.

I am a dog owner. My dog is always leashed on public land. When she runs, I’m running on the other end of the leash. I do not want her approached by unleashed dogs.

I am also a daughter who saw her elderly father shun his much-loved beach because of the roaming dogs. They made him feel even more frail than he was.

So, yes, “terrorized” is the appropriate word.

Susan DeWitt Wilder


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