SCOTLAND’S growing army of professional dog walkers are facing a clampdown on how many pooches they can walk at any one time.
The booming trade sees individuals charge up to £12 an hour to take other peoples’ pets out for a walk.
But councillors in one Scots city are set to discuss whether the industry should be regulated.
Some professionals are accused of walking too many dogs at once Photo:revolution cycle
The move follows complaints to Edinburgh City Council about out-of-control dogs in the care of some paid pet sitters.
Sources say some dog walkers are taking up to 16 animals out at one time – leading to fears of attacks on animals and humans.
The motion has been tabled by Councillor Ricky Henderson, who was approached by constituents complaining that they had been jumped up on by a pack of seemingly uncontrollable animals being walked by a professional.
He said: “In that case the dogs didn’t do any physical harm, but they did cause alarm. I have raised the issue at community council meetings and other people said they have had similar experiences.
“I’ve heard of people walking ten dogs or more at a time and that does seem to be too many. We need to consider whether certain controls need to be placed on these activities.”
The cost of a licensing system would be covered by charges made to professional dog walkers.
Long-established dog walkers have welcomed the move, saying that some regulation is needed.
Brian Armstrong, 56, who runs a company called Walkies, said: “This has been a long time coming. I would support a maximum number of dogs. If someone is experienced and knows what they are doing eight is OK
“But there are greedy people and they try to squeeze as many dogs as possible in their van.”
Mr Armstrong’s wife Moira joined the business, which has been running since 1991, around 18 months ago.
He added: “It’s looks easy but it’s not. A lot of people try it and fall by the wayside. When I started on-one had heard of it but now it’s the norm to have a dog walker.”
Richard Thomson has been running his business, Dog Walkers, for six years.
He said: “I would say walking five dogs at a time is OK. It depends on the dogs or how long the walk is for. Four is a nice number, while six or seven would be the maximum.
“Walking ten dogs or more at once is crazy. Some do appear to have far to many dogs. I would welcome regulation providing it doesn’t involve costly licences.
“A lot of it comes down to common sense, but there are those who push the boundaries and can’t control the dogs.
“Some keep dogs in their van and say they are walking them – it does go on.”
A spokesman for the council said: “the motion will be considered by the regulatory committee in Friday.
“If agreed, a full report on the options for regulating the number of dogs controlled by dog walkers will be presented to a future meeting of this committee.”