HUGE thanks go out to Crystal Goodrich and everyone with SoPo Dog and ShareWillard who worked so hard , and so effectively, on bringing out the vote against the proposed ordinance that sought to eliminate dog walking from April 15 to October 15, and off-leash use year-round, on Willard Beach in South Portland. The ordinance was voted down yesterday by about a 50% margin.
Victory is never a good time to relax. OK maybe for a few minutes. But then it’s time to get back to the work of preserving our rights. That means we as good dog-owning citizens can’t let down the people who came out to support us, and we can’t let ourselves and each other down. We need to continue to keep the beach clean and our dogs on good behavior while on or off leash. The people behind the proposed ban feel strongly enough about their point of view to take it this far, so it’s really unlikely that the issue will get buried. It’s pretty clear (isn’t it?) that the only answer to this problem of sharing our green spaces among different camps of use is personal responsibility, through communication and education. What are the real sources of concern among non-dog-owners in regard to exercising dogs on Willard or any other beach or green space? While the dog-owning population of tax payers is consistently answering to those concerns, if there’s still opposition to sharing our green spaces, then it’s time for those opposing to look hard within themselves. Discrimination, favoritism, and elitism aren’t reasonable grounds for opposition.