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Portland Councilors Approve Leash Restrictions For Dogs, Postpone Short-Term Rental Decision

The Portland City Council has postponed vote on a measure to provide financial incentives to owners of short-term rental property in the city to convert them to long-term rentals, but approved another restricting when people can walk dogs off leash.Councilor Kim Cook proposed the amendments as changes to a measure the council considered Tuesday evening that would bring the city's "stay-at-home" order aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19 largely in line with what Gov. Janet Mills has imposed at the state level.

"They can't generate any income, at least currently, with short-term rentals," Cook said, "so this was sort of a way to acknowledge that."

After much discussion, councilors approved placing restrictions on when people can walk their dogs off leash on public property while the emergency order is in effect.

The measure requires dogs to be on leashes from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., rather than all the time as originally proposed.

Cook said she's heard from Portland residents that off leash dog have led to social distancing concerns, "where off leash dogs approached them and were not under voice control and the owners of those dogs had to come close, maybe not just for a brief second, to get their dog back under control."

Many speaking during the public comment period voiced strong opposition to the leash restrictions.

The council meets again on April 27.