KITTERY (AP) – A Kittery town councilor wants to ban out-of-town dogs from its beaches.

Town Councilor Dennis Estes says the dogs are too messy and there’s too many of them clogging up Kittery’s beaches. Estes suspects that New Hampshire dogs are to blame for the problem.

Seapoint Beach has become so popular with dog owners in Kittery and neighboring towns in New Hampshire that it has earned the nickname “Dog Beach.”

Dogs are banned from beaches in New Castle, N.H. during the summer. In Portsmouth, there is a dog park, but no area for dogs to run and swim.

So Kittery is an attractive place for dogs to frolic on the sandy beaches.

“It bothers me we have this kind of scenario because we’re the only place to bring your dog,” he said. “(The beach) is in fact a treasure, and I think we need to worry about the citizenry before people from away.”

Don and Delight Reese sometimes travel from Hampstead, N.H. to Fort Foster with their mixed terrier, Fanny. The couple said it would be disappointing if the park was closed to their dogs.

“We can understand it, because people do abuse the privilege,” said Don Reese. But, “(Fort Foster) is just a beautiful place. The dogs love it.”

It may be true that Kittery owners do not pick up after their own dogs, but reducing the overall number would improve health and cleanliness issues, Estes said.

Councilors who support the dog ban say they oppose adding more plastic dog poop bags and trash cans at Kittery beaches.

“Why should the resident taxpayers pay for a cost for something out-of-staters use?” said Mark Sousa, chairman of the council.

But police are concerned about how they’ll enforce the ban. And dog owners in Kittery have mixed feelings about the proposal. Some are afraid councilors will eventually ban dogs from the beaches and park altogether.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at the Kittery Town Hall.

AP-ES-09-05-03 0217EDT

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