Portland tightens restrictions on off-leash dogs

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PORTLAND — The city has made several changes to rules governing where and when dogs can run free, and where the pets are not allowed at all.

Many of the changes are at the Eastern Promenade, a popular spot for dog owners to give their pets a chance to run off leash. Dogs are no longer allowed without a leash in the area next to the Portland House and Fort Allen Park.

The City Council passed the new rules at a meeting May 17. The rules were passed as an emergency order at the request of the Health and Recreation Committee, which wanted them in place before Memorial Day. The committee worked with Friends of the Eastern Promenade and the Parks Commission to come up with the changes.

City Councilor Dory Waxman, chairwoman of the committee, said the leash requirement near the Portland House reflects an increase in foot traffic created by a new trail that links the Eastern Promenade trail to Fort Allen Park.

The city has also added the “mid-slope nature path,” which runs behind the tennis courts and ball fields, to the allowable off-leash area.

The changes include a city-wide ban on dogs, regardless of whether they are leashed, from school yards, playgrounds and ball fields. Previously, the dog ordinance prohibited dogs from being in areas posted by the parks authority.

The city also changed the time of day dogs can be off-leash in approved areas. Dogs were previously limited to off-leash time from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. from April 15 through Oct. 15. Those rules will now be in effect from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Dogs are not allowed on the East End Beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., whether leashed or not.

The changes also further define what “voice control” means. Dog owners need to have a leash with them at all times, and have voice control over their dog so if called, the dog goes immediately to the owner and remains by his or her side.

No one is allowed to have more than three dogs off-leash at a time.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net

A Portland city map depicts new dog leash requirements on the Eastern Promenade.

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Beau, a 9-year-old golden retriever, will not be allowed to chase balls off leash near Fort Allen Park in Portland anymore. The city recently changed the area where dogs are allowed to run without a leash at the Eastern Promenade.