When it next meets, the Cape Elizabeth Conservation Commission is expected to take up a series of recommendations, created as the result of a public hearing held in mid-June, regarding dogs on public trails.

Among the suggestions are asking that dog owners always carry leashes with them, even in off-leash areas; requiring some times when all dogs would be leashed at Great Pond; increasing the consequences for problem dog owners; adding pet waste stations at the Gull Crest Trail and at Great Pond; and allowing dogs at sports fields in Fort Williams Park.

Other suggestions include mailing a dog-rules brochure to all registered dog owners in town, requiring all dogs to be leashed near schools and day cares and reviewing the promptness of the animal control officer’s response to complaints.

The Conservation Commission is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m. The commission was originally scheduled to take up the suggestions regarding dogs at its July meeting, but that was canceled due to the lack of a quorum.

During the June public forum, Marti Blair, a member of the Conservation Commission, noted that the purpose of the group’s annual review of dog access to public trails and lands is to create a balance between having dogs under control, while also allowing them some freedom to run and play.

Sheila Wellehan, coordinator of a Cape dog owners group, said her goal is to keep access and open communication. In addition, she said there is a concern that limiting hours for dogs to be off leash can lead to an excessive number of dogs and their owners converging on popular spots all at the same time.

Kate Irish Collins

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