Dog walkers in Northants start petition after being BANNED from walking more than four pooches at a time
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Professional dog walkers in Daventry have started a petition after a new council rule has banned EVERYONE from walking more than four dogs at a time.
West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) introduced a public space protection order (PSPO) on November 1 banning anyone from walking more than four dogs at a time in the South Northamptonshire and Daventry districts. If they are caught breaking the rules they may be slapped with a £100 fine.
The council held a six-week consultation between February and April which received 1,275 responses. 63 percent (803) of those that took part in this consultation responded to this proposal of which 57 percent (457) agreed.
Professional dog walker Molly Everett, who runs Molly 4 Paws, has started an online petition calling for professional dog walkers to continue to be allowed to walk six dogs at a time.
So far, at the time of writing (Monday), the petition has 574 signatures.
Molly, aged 22, said: "You wouldn't go into a shop and say you can only serve 10 customers a day, WNC seem to have done that to us quite easily.
"We all emailed WNC and just got a blanket response saying, 'unfortunately the decision has been made'. We've started the petition because we feel like we are not being listened to or given a chance. We've suggested a licence for professional dog walkers. We're just asking for some kind of consideration.
"They put out a survey but the maximum number of dogs that could be selected on that survey was four – we thought that was a bit cheeky. None of us were contacted directly. I really don't know what they are trying to do.”
Molly explained how the change is going to affect her and other dog walkers.
She said: "I'm so stressed. I'm so tired. I'm getting up earlier and finishing later. It's taken the freedom and the love out of the job. We used to be able to take out six dogs. We can't fathom why they have done it.
"I want to keep my prices as low as possible because my customers are struggling too, but I'm putting myself out by living on less money. If we're not out in the cold all day walking the dogs they're not going to get walked.
"The council says it supports local businesses, seriously? You've completely ruined the income for a huge group of people."
Click here to view the petition.
Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Engagement, and Regulatory Services at West Northamptonshire Council, said: “The Public Spaces Protection Order relates to many dog related activities in the South Northants and Daventry areas and a 6-week consultation took place earlier this year, supported by an extensive communications campaign to reach as many individuals, businesses and organisations who may be affected by the introduction of the Order as possible, followed by further promotions this summer when the order was considered by our Cabinet.
"When considering the proposals for the PSPO consultation, consideration was given to the Professional Dog Walkers’ Guidelines which advises dog owners, local authorities and dog walkers on best practice. They were produced and endorsed by The Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Canine and Feline Sector Group and The Pet Industry Federation.
“We are aware that some professional dog walkers have been raising concerns about the PSPO and so we will be looking into these and the possibility of licensing those who can demonstrate good practice, such as insurance, in helping to address these issues whilst ensuring the order continues to be as effective as possible in protecting our environment.”