City refines new rules for dog walkers 

click to enlarge As of July 1, anyone walking more than four dogs at a time will have to obtain a permit. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner file photo
  • As of July 1, anyone walking more than four dogs at a time will have to obtain a permit.

A law was approved more than a year ago to require that San Francisco dog walkers obtain a city permit, but it remains unenforced as details are still being worked out.

When the law was approved in February 2012, the Department of Animal Care and Control was given up to 18 months to work out the finer details — and it’s taking advantage of the time frame.

But on July 1, anyone walking more than four dogs at a time will have to obtain a permit. The law prohibits walking more than eight dogs at a time.

As a result of ongoing negotiations, the law was tweaked Monday by the Board of Supervisors land use committee. One of the changes specifies that leashes — a dog walker must have one leash per dog — cannot be longer than 8 feet. “I would prefer 6 feet,” said Rebecca Katz, head of Animal Care and Control. “We are working out a lot of compromises.”

Another change requires that the $1 million in general liability insurance not lapse during the duration of the permit. Permits cost $240 in the first year and $100 annually thereafter.

Also, a dog walker must “properly dispose of any canine waste.”

Supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the legislation, also amended the grandfathering provision, which allows dog walkers working for at least three consecutive years, either with a business license or working for such a business, to bypass the training requirements of the law. The initial grandfathering provision date of three years from September 2012 was changed to three years from March 2013.

The law is aimed at addressing concerns about people walking too many dogs and not cleaning up after them.

The full board is expected to approve the amendments today. The Animal Care and Welfare Commission plans to hold a May 9 hearing on the law’s guidelines.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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