The short-sightedness of the proposals to charge non-residents money to walk their dogs on Willard Beach or to make walking our dogs in South Portland inconvenient is that it ignores the multiplier effect dogs have on the South Portland economy.
As Portland residents, we rarely set foot in South Portland before our dog Angel came into our lives four years ago. We work our busy lives around beach and park walks with our dog. Presently, we make the trip to SOPO nearly every day to walk Angel at Willard or Hinckley Park. It’s easy for us to incorporate our walks with Angel with our shopping errands; I bet we do half of our shopping in South Portland now.
We love our favorite shops in South Portland and we’d still go visit them now and again if the laws for dog walking changed. But if we had to pay to go to walk at our favorite spots in South Portland or if they became leashed areas, we would just as soon do it all over here in Portland. There would be nothing to set South Portland apart.
We see many of our friends from Portland over in SOPO walking their dogs and shopping at the same places. What will they do? All that money going into the South Portland economy would be gone. The council should think carefully about the multiplier effect of dogs and their owners before making a decision detrimental to the South Portland economy.