The move follows complaints from other dog owners and park users, plus a failure by many dog walkers to follow a voluntary code of practice set out several years ago. Some have been seen single-handedly exercising as many as 20 dogs at a time and charging up to £20 per animal
Council cabinet member for environment Kathy Tracey said: “This is quickly becoming a very lucrative money spinner for some of these dog walkers. If they wish to use our parks and open spaces for commercial purposes then it is only right and proper that we ensure they are capable of staying in proper control of all the dogs they wish to exercise.”
WBC is waiting to hear from DEFRA whether it can enforce the by-law across Wandsworth Common, Hillbrook Park, Falcon Park and Battersea Park to come into effect early next year.
Dog walkers would however be able to apply for a free licence to walk more than four dogs. A dog control unit will assess applicants to ensure they could adequately control the number of dogs they wish to exercise. It would also set out which parks could be used by the individual and at what time of the day.
The council was keen to point out that it is not all professional dog walkers causing the problem and that many are supporting the proposed initiative.
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