Professional dog walkers in Hammersmith and Fulham face fines if they fail to buy a licence.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council imposed fines on several dog walkers earlier this month with a view to reducing dog fouling and improving safety in the borough’s parks and open spaces.
The legislation, which came into effect on October 1, follows the implementation of similar schemes across London, in the boroughs of Lambeth, Wandsworth and the Royal Parks.
The license comes at a price, with different price points for inside or outside the borough.
Alice Balka, owner of Hammersmith-based Alice’s Dog Walking, said: “I would like to get a license but the pricing would be a stretch for me.
“I think it is just another way of the council making money. They don’t see the effect of this on small business owners.
“I am having to make a big decision on if I can carry on running my business until the end of the year because of the cost of licenses.”
A registered dog walking business in Hammersmith and Fulham would pay £175 plus VAT per year. Non residents would see the cost rise to £300 + VAT per year to walk up to four dogs.
Councillor Wesley Harcourt, Hammersmith and Fulham Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Residents had raised concerns with us about increasing instances of dog fouling and said they’d also noticed greater numbers of professional dog walkers, who are likely to be visiting from neighbouring boroughs to avoid paying for a similar licence.
“This licence makes dog walkers accountable – with more and more dog walkers in the park there’s higher risk of conflict between dogs, or dogs and park users. So, this is a key step in keeping our parks safer and cleaner.”
A council spokesperson said: “Park Police officers and designated council officers will monitor parks to ensure professional dog walkers have a license, indicated by an armband.
“Those who don’t have a license could be fined or asked to leave the park”.
Places included in the new scheme are Bishop’s Park, Cathnor Park, Hammersmith Park, Ravenscourt Park and Gwendwr Gardens.
The council spokesperson confirmed that five licenses have been approved so far this month, with a further 23 currently being processed.
To apply for licence, email: [email protected]