Supervisor Scott Wiener proposes new regulations on dog walkers 

Commercial dog walkers would be regulated and required to pay a fee to use The City’s parks and open spaces under a proposal from Supervisor Scott Wiener.

The canine caregivers should be required to undergo training, limit the number of dogs they walk at one time and register through the Recreation and Park Department, which manages the land they walk on, Wiener said.

"It’s important for there to be rules to ensure that other users of the park are respected," he said.

Wiener’s proposal has drawn support from Animal Care and Control, the president of the Animal Control and Welfare Commission and a well-known San Francisco Professional Dog Walkers Association member.

"We will be working with Scott on this," said Nancy Stafford, co-director of the dog walkers association.

Stafford said she has already met with the supervisor and will support fees the commission suggested two years ago, of about $100 to $200 a year, and likely a limit of up to eight dogs at a time.

For many professional dog walkers, the annual payment for registration is not a problem, but the proposed limits could cost them up to $20 an hour per dog.

Emy Sakai, who owns the Urban Paw and has walked dogs professionally for almost four years, said Wiener’s legislation could weed out the people who aren’t serious about dog walking, which would make her happy. However, it also would cut into the money she earns.

"If you put in a full eight hours and you walk at least two groups in a day, that will add up," Sakai said.

Stafford said she knows the limit on the number of dogs is bound to be a hot-button issue.

"Obviously there are some concerns and not all of us agree on the number," she said.

Wiener plans to work with federal park managers who are also proposing a similar fee. A recent draft environmental impact study for Fort Funston, Ocean Beach and several other federally controlled open spaces suggests dog walkers be permitted to care for no more than six animals at a time.

Wiener said he was not set on any numbers, but ideally dog walkers would only have to pay for one permit to use both kinds of open spaces. Knowing how contentious dog-ownership issues can be, Wiener said he would hold a public hearing before drafting his proposal.

"We’re not in a rush," he said.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com

 

Down, boy!

Dog walkers are already subject to the following citations, which often fluctuate in price, if they aren’t responsible:

Failure to keep dogs on a leash: $31.99

Failure to show proper registration: $159

Failure to pick up after dog: $319.90

Source: SFPD

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Kamala Kelkar

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