Results of the Commercial Dog Walking Consultation

Last Autumn, over 1,200 of you took part in an informal survey to help us gauge your views on commercial dog-walking on the Commons.  

The results of the consultation were considered by the Board at its February 2020 meeting, alongside feedback from WPCC’s officers based on their experience and daily interaction with members of the public.

On the question of whether all commercial dog walkers should be licenced, 80% of respondents were in favour and 20% opposed. In terms of the current policy of allowing 24 licenced dog walkers to walk up to six dogs, two of which must be on leads at all times, 39% of respondents were opposed to the policy, but 40% approved of the approach. 21% considered the current policy should be retained, but limited to the current number of licensees. Although under the current Byelaw, mandatory charges cannot be imposed on commercial dog walkers, 51% of respondents were in favour of charging and 49% opposed.

At their recent meeting in February, the Conservators approved a number of recommendations including retaining the existing policy of permitting 24 licenced dog walkers to walk up to six dogs at any one time, but strengthening the licencing arrangements so that all who are licenced are identifiable when walking on the Commons. This means they will be easily identifiable to both visitors and our staff. 

The Conservators further agreed that

- no new authorisations to walk 6 dogs would be issued so as the existing licences lapse, this scheme will phase out. 

- all commercial dog walkers using the Commons be invited on a voluntary basis to sign up to become officially licenced [to walk 4 dogs]. This will be reviewed after 12 months and, if necessary, it will become mandatory. 

The Conservators also supported the view that all licenced dog walkers be encouraged to voluntarily donate £120 per annum thereby contributing to WPCC’s charitable objectives and the upkeep of this special place.

The Conservators also recognised the need for parity with other commercial users of the Commons (such as fitness instructors) and further work will be undertaken to see how these commercial operators can also help contribute towards WPCC’s charitable objectives.