A few years ago, two pit bulls ran through our Scarborough neighborhood on the edge of town. Frightened parents kept their children indoors and residents threatened to “take care of it” themselves. A few neighbors actually moved, citing the dogs as one of the reasons. Calls to police, letters to the town and even citations to the owner failed to keep the dogs from running into our yards. This went on for at least two years. It wasn’t until the dogs attacked and killed a puppy being held by a 12-year-old girl that they were taken from their owner. The dog ordinance at that time prohibited dogs to run “at large” and required that owners have dogs under voice control with leash in hand at all times on public property.
If we cannot enforce our current dog laws, what is the plan to enforce this new, more encompassing dog law? Responsible dog owners know when to leash their dogs, clean up after them and mind their neighbors. Irresponsible dog owners allow their dogs to run at large, ignore the safety of others and will likely continue to do so when the new law is in place.
If the town rescinds its autonomy in governing, it opens the door for further federal restrictions to be imposed on our beaches and public spaces. My hope is that Scarborough can find a way to successfully enforce its current laws and not impose further restrictions.