Dogs may not belong at local wildlife refuge

Dog walkers may be disappointed, even angry, but we respect the right of the Stanton Bird Club to define the vision for Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary.

If that means banning dogs, so be it.

The club's Stewardship Committee unanimously voted in April to no longer permit dogs at the 357-acre wildlife preserve, which has for years been popular with families, student groups and people walking their pets.

The Stewardship Committee's recommendation now goes to the full board, which has invited input from the public before a final decision is made.

The club reports that there have been complaints of dogs intimidating walkers, droppings found on trails and dogs chasing wildlife.

There was no indication in a statement last week from Board President Tom Robustelli of how many conflicts had occurred, or whether the number of incidents was growing.

However, similar complaints arose this spring from people using the Whitman Spring Road trail along Lake Auburn.

There, a walker complained to the Auburn Water District that dog walkers were not picking up after their pets.

The district decided that the feces didn't constitute a water-quality threat to Lake Auburn, but still decided to put up poop-bag dispensers at the entrances to the Spring Road.

Dispensers installed along Auburn's River Walk have also reportedly cut down on the amount of waste left by dog walkers.

The Stanton Board may want to consider this alternative, but the bird sanctuary and learning-lab mission of the Lewiston refuge make it different from the River Walk and Spring Road trails.

All federal wilderness areas ban pets, as does Baxter State Park and many wildlife refuges. They have found that dogs chase wildlife, disrupt sensitive areas and contaminate water resources.

Despite a posted leashed-dog policy, there are always a few dog owners determined to ignore the rules and let their dogs run.

Plus, all people — children and adults — should feel secure within the confines of the sanctuary, and dogs add an element of stress for some people.

Indeed, when a reporter and photographer visited the refuge on Thursday, a brief fight between two dogs broke out in the parking lot.

Ultimately, Thorncrag is a bird sanctuary, not a public park. The dog-walking public may have to accept that there is a difference.

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Comments

 's picture

its too bad that there are

its too bad that there are bans. people can't take their dogs anywhere. its ridiculous that they are letting the few dogs determine the ban rather than just letting it be. i don't mind picking up trash off the ground or dog poo. its a community effort sometimes to keep things clean. dogs are only as good as their owners!

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thanks... i agree... we

thanks...

i agree... we should pick up after ourselves... that is the way it is suppose to be. i guess i feel that if i am walking down the street and happen to stumble across a beer bottle on the ground or plastic bags... to dog poo-i don't mind picking it up to keep my road clean. when i go hiking i will pick up trash along the way (finding some very bizarre trash) in the woods that just don't belong there. i feel i am putting in the effort for something so small that will it habitable for wildlife, even enjoyable for the next person. if i was to just walk past a chunk of trash... to leave it for the next person... it could be there for quite a long time. i get some satisfaction that i am doing my part and its so simple.

i remember being a child and being shown some pictures in school about how trash causes issues for animals... especially how birds/animals can get caught (and can get injured or die) in the infamous beer/soda can plastic contraption (can't think of the name right off) that holds a 6-pk etc. a simple cutting or breaking of the links is all it takes... and disposing of it properly.

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Dog trouble

Pepper spray does not spray very far but ant/wasp spray goes approx. 20 feet and is effective for dogs, humans and Democrats. And is legal in all States.

 's picture

It's too bad

My back pocket always has a bag ready to pick up the waste my dog leaves behind.

 's picture

people really don't

people really don't understand their animals. when i lived in eddington (by Bangor), almost everyone on our street had a dog, none had them on leashes. i can't tell you how often i had dogs come at me and chase me up the street, or how many times there was a growling dog in my driveway blocking my car. once, a pit bull was growling with his muzzel a few inches from my 4 month old. he wouldn't let me back up, and i couldn't yell for help. the "owners" child was yelling at the dog and yelling for her mom, who after about 10 minutes finally grudginly bothered coming to get the dog. promising that it would never have hurt us. more and more people have stories like this.
people always think that their animal is under "voice command" and would never hurt someone unless provoked. never the case. people are idiots, dogs can't help themselves.

 's picture

The dogs in Rumford are a

The dogs in Rumford are a menace. The animal control officer's number answers Ellis River Property Management. I'm not sure who pays for the celphone but I think it is a safe bet what the priority is.

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Lewiston has been going to

Lewiston has been going to the dogs for decades. No news here. Renane it Scatstown.

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unfortunately, i don't know

unfortunately, i don't know what can be done about dog attacks. i have coverage, but i am pretty sure it covers people in the case they are harmed by my dogs. i am sure the ban (which is so unfortunate) does not apply to service dogs.

http://www.maine.gov/mhrc/guidance/service_animals.html
http://www.ptla.org/lse/PDF/disability.pdfmaineelse.org

 's picture

i'm sorry that you can't

i'm sorry that you can't enjoy things like others. this is a case of one bad apple spoiling it for everyone. i think that service dogs should be allowed everywhere a person can go, because service dogs not only have specialized training to never leave the owners side but also are always on leashes. but people with regular dogs don't understand the special circumstances, and will assume their own admittance. again i'm sorry your limited by the ignorance of others.

 's picture

Service dogs

Service dogs are allowed anywhere a ADA person goes. If they are not allowed to accompany the person they protect, then a call to the ADA will remedy that. The business/person will be fined. Service animals are very well trained, and no one can refuse you to bring her/him in with you. Visit ADA's website. This article explains everything. http://www.ada.gov/svcabrs3.pdf

 's picture

I led a group of kids there

I led a group of kids there snowshoeing and we could hardly take a step in places without marching through crap. I clean up after my dogs, but I can understand the bird club's stance and given the circumstances would have done the same long ago.

 's picture

Yeah Right!

Outofmainer-With dogs like the mentioned Pitbull digging into the ground while pulling the owner and walking around dog doo that lazy and uncaring owners leave behind does not give them the right to command this property. Until Obummer changes the rule, the majority rules here!

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