Edinburgh takes the lead on commercial dog walking in city parks

Professional dog walkers using Edinburgh’s parks and green spaces will be required to register with the Council as part of a new set of park management rules coming into force this week.

The City of Edinburgh Council will be the first local authority in Scotland to manage commercial dog walking in this way and will require walkers to commit to adhering to a code of conduct in order to obtain a free permit.

The move comes following concerns raised about the control and supervision of dogs being managed by some professional dog walkers. The eight guidelines in the new code of conduct have been specifically worked up in consultation with both professional dog walking groups and park users.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s Environment Convener, said: “Requiring professional dog walkers to register with us shouldn’t cause any major issues to the majority of professionals who already practice in a safe and responsible manner.

“By subscribing to the code, professional walkers can minimise their impact on the parks and other users, set a positive example to other dog walkers and deliver a safe and quality service for their clients.”

Bruce Thomson, Spokesperson for the City of Edinburgh Professional Dog Walkers Association, said: "Edinburgh professional dog walkers provide a valued service to busy working people, the elderly and the infirm. As part of the local business community, we recognise the need for good practice which benefits all users of our parks and greenspaces.

“Established and experienced operators have been working with the Council to form the Code of Conduct, which as part of the new registration system should give structure and guidance."

Permission is obtained by sending contact details and consent to abide by a code of conduct to the Council who will then issue registered professional dog walkers with a proof of permission card.

Park rangers and other council officers are in charge of enforcing the rules and have the authority to ask those breaking them to leave the park. Continual offence will result in the individuals’ license being revoked, with further implications following.

The guidelines were agreed by the Council along with the new Management Rules for Public Parks and Greenspaces on January 31.

Find out more about professional dog walking on the Council's website.

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