Unleashed desires in the state of Maine
Residents of Ogunquit, Maine, voted this month to allow dog owners to let their pets off leash in public areas — as long as those residents can prove to animal control officials that said animals are under voice control.
The change in the dog law was the work of dog owner John Mixon (Go, John!), who gathered enough signatures on petitions to have a rewording in the town’s leash law — one that added the words “or under voice control” — put on the ballot. Voters passed it.
Then, a few days after the election, Mixon was nabbed and charged for having his dogs off their leashes.
Now, things have escalated to the point where Mixon has complained to the Maine Secretary of State that his civil rights have been violated, according to Seacoastonline.
It seems town officials are refusing to honor the change, and debating its wording, saying it — the change, not the leash law — is vague and unenforceable.
Mixon was issued a ticket by Ogunquit Police Department on Nov. 8 for walking his dogs without a leash, despite his claim that they were under voice control.
Town Manager Phil Clark said ensuring that a dog can always be under someone’s voice control is next to impossible. “There are no criteria of what to make the dog do,” he said. “The Animal Control Officer said there’s nothing he can take to certify that he can judge that. You just open yourself up to liability.”
(Photo: Lobster collar and leash from agathaandlouise.com)