If people decide to walk or ride their horse on Biddeford’s beaches, the equine must be outfitted with manure catchment devices, according to an ordinance amendment unanimously approved by the City Council July 6.  Horses are restricted from beach areas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May 25 to Sept. 15. Portland Press Herald File Photo

BIDDEFORD — It is a step other communities have taken — for health reasons and to avoid stepping into something unpleasant — and now Biddeford has too.

Thanks to a measure passed by the City Council on July 6, those who walk or ride horses on the city’s beaches during the allowed days and hours must equip the equines with a manure catchment device.

Horses are restricted from beach areas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May 25 to Sept. 15, the ordinance amendment states. The amendment also prohibit horses and horse-drawn vehicles from city parks and athletic fields.

“As an individual who has had to step around many piles of horse poop, I am strongly in favor of this amendment,” said Councilor William Emhiser.

There was no other comment, and the amendment passed unanimously.

The ordinance also requires owners of horses and other animals  to remove their waste from public spaces.

As well, dogs “are prohibited from entering or remaining in any park, playground, schoolyard, athletic field, beach areas, or any other area posted under authorization of the Recreation Director,” according to the revised ordinance, with a couple of existing exemptions. Unleashed dogs under voice command are allowed on the city’s public beaches all day from Sept. 16 to March 14. Dogs may not use any part of the Rotary Park beach between the hours of 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. from May 25 to Sept. 15 of each year.

In Old Orchard Beach, the Town Council in January voted that those who ride or walk horses on the beach will have to outfit the animals with manure containment bags starting Oct. 1. In that community, horses are allowed on the beach, with a permit, from Oct. 1 to March 31. The town had previously required that owners clean up after their animals but had not required the containment bags. The Cumberland County town of Scarborough approved a similar ordinance in 2017.

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