A petition to keep off-leash hours from being rolled back at a popular beach has failed.
A dog is leashed in South Portland recently. Credit: CBS 13

A group looking to rein in a new leash rule in South Portland fell short of their goal, according to one activist.

Right now, dogs are allowed on Willard Beach in the summer months, on- or off-leash, from 7 to 9 a.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

Recently, the city changed the ordinance to require dogs be leashed from 7 to 8 p.m., meaning dogs are only allowed off leash 8 to 9 p.m. on summer evenings.

“It’s dark most of that time. There are also other restrictions that we think are heavy-handed,” South Portland resident Steve Silver said. “City Council has ignored the vast majority of residents. When you go to every meeting, it’s 30, 40 on one side and two or three on the other, and they just ignore the majority. So we think the process has been flawed and hopefully this will put a pause on things.”

That rule went into effect Tuesday. Activists said the city clerk determined the petition turned in Monday afternoon fell 70 signatures short of its goal.