Dog walker walking with a group of dogs on leashes

New licence for professional dog walkers helps keep our parks safe and pleasant

Following concerns raised by residents about an influx of professional dog walkers from neighbouring boroughs, H&F Council is to issue licences.

The borough’s parks have become popular with paid dog walkers, after other nearby boroughs started charging for licences.

“Residents told us they’d noticed a spike in the number of professional dog walkers in our parks,” said Cllr Wesley Harcourt, H&F Cabinet Member for Environment.

“We want our parks to remain peaceful and tranquil for all the people that use them, and we’ve taken this action to prevent the borough becoming the go-to destination for all of west London’s dog-walking companies.”

To better regulate numbers of dogs in our parks, and avoid issues of dog control and fouling, H&F will require all professional dog walkers to be licensed by the council from 1 April 2020.

This will not affect private dog owners, people walking a friend’s dog for free, or children walking dogs for pocket money, who will still be able to walk their animals for free in all the areas they could before.

What will it cost?

The licence will have two different costs depending on whether the dog walking business is based in or outside the borough and is a similar charge to neighbouring boroughs and the Royal Parks.

  • for local professional dog walkers, the license will cost £175 per year
  • for dog walkers from outside the borough, it will cost £300 per year.

For a resident dog walking business, this equates to about 48p per day. Money from the licensing scheme will be put towards park maintenance and improvements.

How to apply for a licence

Professional dog walkers can apply for a licence or find out more by emailing the parks team.

What is a professional dog walker?

A licence is required for dog walkers who:

  • take payment for the care, kennelling, transport or exercise of a dog or dogs and takes that dog or dogs to a park or open space in the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham for exercise.

All park bylaws and Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) will still apply.

Parks officers will actively patrol parks and ensure any professional dog walkers have the required licence. Licence-holders will be distinguishable by a high-visibility armband which will hold the licence.

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