Topsham selectmen OK dog fees with more teeth, new clerk hours

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TOPSHAM — The Board of Selectmen on Aug. 18 unanimously approved stricter dog ordinance violation fees and new town clerk office hours.

The dog ordinance change must ultimately be approved by Town Meeting.

Town Manager Cornell Knight said a resident complained to the board about her neighbor’s dogs being allowed to run at large and consequently cause damage to her property. The dog owner received a summons and paid a fine, but the resident requested a stiffer penalty to ensure the problem was resolved.

The amended Town Code language states that a first violation of the dog ordinance is punishable by a fine between $50 and $250, and that two or more violations bring fines of between $100 and $500. Before the change, a violator could be charged $25 the first time and up to $100 for subsequent violations.

The new town clerk office hours will go into effect sometime after Labor Day, Knight said.

Instead of staying open until 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, the office will open an hour earlier in the morning, at 7:30 a.m., and close an hour earlier, at 4:30 p.m. The office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on other weekdays.

Knight said it is believed that more people will find it convenient for the office to be open earlier.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.