OLD ORCHARD BEACH — After receiving several complaints of dogs on the beach, the Old Orchard Beach Police Department will be enhancing its efforts regarding the enforcement of state laws and local ordinances pertaining to dogs.

Dogs are not allowed on the beach between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day, per town ordinance. Dogs are also not allowed downtown on Old Orchard Street from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day. When on the beach, the dog must be on leash or under voice command of the owner.

Under state law, it is unlawful for any dog to be “at large,” except when the dog is assisting in hunting. State law defines “at large” as “off the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person whose personal presence and attention would reasonably control the conduct of the animal.”

Similarly, town ordinance defines “at large” as “off the premises of the owner and not under control of the owner or a member of his immediate family or representative either by leash, cord, chain or otherwise.”

Violation of the town’s dog ordinance could subject a dog owner to a $100 fine.

Old Orchard Beach Police Chief Dana Kelley and Captain David Hemingway said the department has had several complaints from people recently regarding dogs on the beach running up and jumping on them.

Though the dog’s intent may be friendly, it can be scary to someone out for a walk when a strange dog jumps on them, and if the person is unsteady on their feet, the dog could knock them down, said Kelley.

“People are intimidated by large dogs. You don’t know what to expect,” he said.

Kelley and Hemingway said they want to remind people to not only abide by the time frames that dogs are allowed on the beach or in the downtown, but to also maintain control of their dogs when they are enjoying the beach.

Dog owners who have questions regarding town dog ordinances or need clarification can contact the police department.

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be reached at 780-9015 or by email at [email protected]

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