There will be fewer hours when dogs are allowed off leash at South Portland's Willard Beach unless a petition drive succeeds in reversing the change. Credit: CBS 13

New leash rules are going into effect this week at Willard Beach in South Portland and a petition is due on Monday to try and stop these changes.

Currently, dogs are allowed on or off leash from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Willard Beach during the summer.

The new order that goes into effect Tuesday means dogs will have to be on leash from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., then can go off-leash from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The morning hours are not affected.

The use of dog toys is still prohibited during the summer, according to the city’s website.

Signatures for a petition to try and stop the new rule that would reduce off-leash hours are due by 4:30 p.m. Monday at the South Portland City Clerk’s Office.

As of Friday, petitioners claimed to have more than 800 of the required 1,098 signatures, which is 5 percent of the voting population in South Portland needed by Monday’s deadline.

The petition would move forward to a future South Portland City Council agenda to request a repeal of the new ordinance. If the council fails to repeal the ordinance, the question will go on the ballot for a future election.