SOUTH PORTLAND — A petition drive has failed to block a change in the hours when dogs are allowed to run off leash on Willard Beach during the summer.

Under rules approved last year, dogs have been allowed on the beach, both leashed and unleashed, between 7 and 9 a.m. and 7 and 9 p.m., from May 1 to Sept. 30.

The City Council recently approved a change requiring all dogs to be leashed from 7 to 8 p.m. but continuing to allow unleashed dogs from 8 to 9 p.m. Morning hours were unchanged.

Dogs are not allowed on the beach at other times during the summer months.

The altered evening hours will go into effect Tuesday after petitioners failed to collect at least 1,098 signatures from registered voters in favor of asking the council to repeal the change or send the question to a citywide referendum.

That number represents 5 percent of registered voters at the time of the last municipal election.

The petitioners turned in 1,025 signatures on 39 pages by Monday’s 4:30 p.m. deadline, said City Clerk Emily Scully.

Because the petition drive fell short, the reduced off-leash time will be enforced and the petition will not be presented to the council, Scully said.

The council also approved several other ordinance changes related to keeping unleashed dogs under control, protecting sand dunes and wildlife, limiting the use of dog toys on the beach and requiring the proper disposal of dog waste.


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