Council brings professional dog-walkers to heel
Saturday January 8, 2005
It will be walkies but no talkies in Wandsworth after the council launched plans to ban professional dog walkers from chatting to each other while they exercise their dogs in the borough's parks.
Dog-sitters struggling to control unruly packs of 20 defecating canines have become the scourge of the green spaces of south London, terrorising toddlers and intimidating pensioners, according to the council.
Earning up to £200 a day, professional dog walkers are travelling from Kent and East Sussex to exercise dogs owned by working Londoners too busy to walk their own pets.
Inundated with complaints from those trying to enjoy the tranquillity of Battersea Park and Tooting Common, the council is proposing a bylaw to license "multiple dog walking", with a tough set of rules for anyone who walks more than four dogs in their parks.
Multiple dog walkers would have to carry identity cards and enough "poop scoop" fouling bags for the dogs they are exercising, according to the council's draft code of conduct.
They would also have to "walk independently" and would be "prohibited from making contact with other multiple dog walkers".
This would prevent huge groups of dogs running together when professional dog walkers meet up to chat while they stroll with their charges.
"The professional dog walkers tend to know each other and it's quite a lonely profession so they look to meet up with their colleagues," said a spokesman for the council.
"It is very intimidating for people. We've received a lot of complaints from other park users.
"We've heard of single people walking up to 20 dogs and these run off a leash - they just roam around. It's frightening.
"We want to strike a balance so other people are not afraid to go to parks because they are being confronted by packs of wild dogs when they want to take their toddler out." ("packs of wild dogs"?)
Wandsworth council's "dog squad" would assess each licence application and determine how many dogs, and what size, each professional walker could exercise. Officers would also patrol the council's parks enforcing the law.
A "four dogs" rule has been introduced in the city's royal parks, including Hyde Park, Green Park and St James's Park, but this is the first time a bylaw has been proposed.
After a consultation period, Wandsworth's proposals must go before the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs before they can be passed into law.
The council admitted its law could just shift the problem on to neighbouring boroughs but said its attempts to introduce a London-wide law had been blocked.
"There are other councils in London which have the same problem," the spokesman said.
OMFG, Over Protective Mommy!
So I guess the nazi invasion of Britain WAS a success after all.
I agree with this law, especially the way it's worded.
I had a similar experience, where a beautiful day outside was marred by a bunch of dogwalkers with packs of a dozen barely-controlled mutts each, snapping at people they passed, fighting amongst themselves, and leaving trails of dogshit and piss everywhere they passed.
If people don't have the decency to respect the space and enjoyment of others in public places, then they need to be forced to do so. If you can no longer beat the shit out of assholes in public without going to jail and getting sued for everything you own, then regulate 'em out of existence!
Thumbs up to the town council on this one!