Here's Why Even Nice Dogs Must Stay On A Leash in Acadia

Three sea otters look the entrance of a den along a shoreline
Three otters look out the entrance of a den along a shoreline on Isle au Haut. Park rangers believe two domestic dogs running off leash are responsible for the mauling death of one these animals on Sat Oct 6, 2018.

Photo courtesy of Jane Gamble. Used with permission.

Post Updated 11 Dec 2018
Park rangers are seeking information from anyone who may have witnessed the death of a juvenile North America river otter (Lontra canadensis) around 4:15 pm on Sat Oct 6 in Duck Harbor on Isle au Haut. Rangers believe two off leash dogs are responsible for the mauling death of the animal. Rangers also believe the incident may have been witnessed by day hikers waiting for the Isle au Haut mailboat. If you have information regarding this incident please email Acadia National Park Dispatch. All information will remain confidential and anonymous.

Federal regulations require all pets to be restrained on a leash no longer than six feet (2 m):

  • to assure the safety of the pet;
  • to reduce conflicts with other visitors and their pets;
  • to limit potential exposure and spread of disease, and;
  • to protect wildlife, such as nesting loons, turtles, and porcupines.

While required minimum distances vary across national parks, be aware that if your presence changes the behavior of any wild animal, you are too close.

Learn more about park regulations specific to Acadia at

Last updated: December 11, 2018