Feb 7 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
DOG walkers in Brent will be limited to taking out four dogs in public if proposals get the go ahead.
At present people are permitted to walk up to six dogs, but under proposals which will be considered by Brent Council’s executive on Monday, only four will now be allowed.
According to the report, concerns had been raised by 11 parties about professional dog walkers visiting parks with large groups of dogs.
Martin Francis, who runs the Brent Schools Without Walls project for primary schools in Fryent Country Park, said: “This has been going on for a while and it is only professional dog walkers who take out groups of 12 or 15 dogs at a time.
“Dogs and children don’t mix very well, in particular very young children. It has happened enough times for me to raise concerns with the dog section at the council.
“I think four is a reasonable number as it will mean that dog owners will still be able to walk their dogs as it is unlikely an individual or a couple would have more than four, but professional dog walkers would take out more than that.”
An order came into effect in April 2012 limiting the number of dogs people can walk to six and concerns have been raised about large groups of dogs being walked in Fryent Country Park and Welsh Harp Reservoir.
The order applies to open spaces and parks in the borough and many contain smaller areas where dogs must be kept on a lead.
It does not apply to registered blind people, deaf people or other people with disabilities who use trained assistance dogs.
Eva Ujhaziova, a professional dog walker and dog fosterer, has five dogs and is hoping to adopt four more.
When the original consultation was done last year she collected more than 100 signatures in under two days against the proposals.
She said: “I have never had a problem with any of my dogs, they are always under control. If you go to Fryent Country Park during the day it is completely empty.
“This is just a waste of money, I don’t know how they will enforce it. Are they going to have dog wardens in every park all day?”
Chief executive of The Mayhew Animal Home in Kensal Rise, Caroline Yates, said: “We must work with our local communities to build strong relationships and strengthen our resources to tackle irresponsible dog ownership and the effects on social and animal welfare.
“If there is a reason to issue a Dog Control order, then there should also be procedures in place to address the problem with the owner and work with them for the better of all the community and that is where working closely with local animal welfare organisations comes in.”