When Gardiner elected officials meet on Wednesday, they are expected to continue their consideration of a proposal to tighten up the city’s requirement for having dogs on leashes in Gardiner with a public hearing and final vote.

Officials are working on revising the city’s ordinance in the wake of several complaints about dogs running at large that have attacked other dogs and an incident in July where a woman was attacked and injured by two dogs that were not under leash control in the Arcade parking lot behind Water Street.

Under the proposal, all dogs in Gardiner must be on leashes no longer than six feet long. Two exceptions would apply — a dog can be off the leash if it is on its owners’ property or the owner of the property it is visiting has given permission for the dog to be off the leash.

Under state law, it is illegal for dogs to be at large, unless they are hunting. The law defines “at large” as being “off the premises of the owner and not under the control of any person whose personal presence and attention would reasonably control the conduct of the animal.”

Cities and towns are allowed to have more strict rules than state law if they wish.

At the first of two public hearings at the Oct. 3 City Council meeting, residents brought their concerns about the proposal to city officials.

“I can’t run as fast as I once used to be able to,” Pete Giampetruzzi said. “I am wondering if I am going to have to stay within six feet of the beagle whilst it chases rabbits, under the ordinance?”

Gardiner Police Chief James Toman said it depends on where Giampetruzzi and his dog are. If he has the permission of the landowner to have his dog off its leash on the property he’s visiting, he would not violate the proposed ordinance.

Giampetruzzi asked whether the ordinance could be changed to mimic the state law and have an exception for hunting dogs, because state law requires to be on leashes

“How prevalent is the hunting of rabbits with beagles in the city of Gardiner?” Mayor Thom Harnett asked.

“It would only have to happen once to get me in trouble if I went partridge hunting with my lab or take my son’s beagle,” he said.

Giampetruzzi said he hunts on his own property and on other property if it’s not posted against hunting.

Toman said while his department is not getting many calls about dogs running loose at Waterfront Park, people have phoned in complaints about dogs running at large either because they have slipped their leashes or have been let out of their yards.

Harnett said the City Council could consider making changes to include a hunting exception and to the fine schedule as Gardiner resident Jeannine L’Hereux suggested, if the ordinance passes.

The City Council is also expected to:

• Hold a public hearing and consider a first read of a proposal to acquire general obligation tax exempt bonds for less money than anticipated and for a shorter period of time than anticipated for a new loader for the Public Works Department.

• Consider approving a special event permit for Gardiner Main Street for downtown trick or treating

• Discuss with Barbara Skelton, the code enforcement officer, the status of 78 Central Street

• Discuss with Fire Chief Al Nelson a grant application to replace Engine 2

• Discuss with Nelson a proposal to use $85,000 in Ambulance Service fund balance to reduce debt on the ambulances the service now has to facilitate buying a new ambulance; the Ambulance board will take up the matter at future meeting

• Consider a resolution adopting to MaineSpark Coalition Year 2025 Goal for Workforce Education Attainment

• Approve the town of Richmond General Assistance administrator as a General Assistance Fair Hearing Authority

• Accept the minutes of the Oct. 3, 2018 City Council meeting.

The Gardiner City Council meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council Chamber at the Gardiner City Hall, 6 Church St.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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