This week the London Borough of Hillingdon announced regulations requiring professional dog walkers to apply for licenses or face a hefty fine.
The new regulations apply to those paid to walk dogs, with a £100 fine for those not in compliance.
The licence will cost £175 for residents and a hefty £250 for non residents. Licence holders will be limited to six dogs.
The Hillingdon Council website says: “People who are paid to walk dogs will need a licence to do so and will be restricted to walking six animals at a time in Hillingdon’s parks and open spaces. Those operating without a licence could face a fine of up to £100.
The licensing scheme will help maintain the environment and support the upkeep of the parks and people’s enjoyment of them through the effective management of commercial dog walking. The walkers will also have to sign up to a code of conduct to ensure they comply with health and safety regulations. This will benefit residents who would like to see the practice restricted and ensure the welfare of the dogs.”
Harefield Radio spoke to Karen who is the coordinator for Doglost North & West London, Bucks, Herts & parts of Berks:
“DogLost is an organisation made up solely of volunteers helping with lost, found and stolen dogs. We have the only nationwide database for listing these dogs – www.doglost.co.uk.
Whilst we know many Dog Walkers who are totally responsible; we do think that this licensing scheme is a good idea, as long as it is policed. Quite a few of the dogs we help with are lost by Dog Walkers who are either inexperienced or simply have too many dogs to be able to control.
It really depends on how the licenses are distributed and what qualifies you to hold one – do you just apply without having to prove your experience or ability to look after other people’s ‘family members’? With regards to the fine – I don’t think that £100 is enough of a deterrent”
Councillor Jonathan Bianco, Hillingdon Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Property, and Business Services said:
“The borough has lots of wonderful parks and open spaces for everyone to enjoy. Our residents tell us they love our parks but have also shared their concerns about there being too many professional dog walkers.
Introducing this licensing scheme will help ensure the welfare of the dogs, guarantee that professional dog walkers meet all the necessary requirements, protect our environment and make sure everyone using our parks has an enjoyable experience.”
Professional dog walkers have until Wednesday 30 October to apply.