People who don’t visit Willard Beach in South Portland might wonder what happens there. Here’s a little sketch that shows a typical day at the beach. Picture this: By the jungle gym, a mom watches over two toddlers. Near the water, women walk briskly together. Along the beach, dogs and their owners amble alone or in pairs. Other than the exceptional weather, nothing is remarkable. This typical scene offers two reasons to vote against the proposed ordinance to ban dogs.
First, the current laws work. Dog owners must abide by restricted hours in the warm months and must clean up after their dogs. During the summer, people who want to enjoy the beach without dogs have the whole day to themselves.
Second, Willard Beach is the center of a community. My morning at the beach included talking with a neighbor who listened to a personal problem and offered helpful advice. Further down the beach, I learned about an open house and upcoming neighborhood events. Conversations like these take place every day and are completely typical. If I never walked my dog at Willard, I’d never know my neighbors, and my life would lack the mutual interests and shared connections that make a community.
The proposed ordinance to ban dogs from Willard Beach would change laws that work and would dissolve the community that gathers there. On Nov. 3, please vote against the proposed ban so that we may continue to share Willard Beach.