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Ban on professional dog-walkers mooted

Parish council continues discussion on way forward for Silchester Common

Charlotte Booth

Charlotte Booth

charlotte.booth@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886637

Ban on professional dog-walkers mooted

SILCHESTER Parish Council is considering whether to licence professional dog-walkers to use the common or to ban them outright. 

The issue was discussed at the parish council meeting on Monday, September 3, following an enquiry from a resident who runs a dog-walking company regarding walking the animals on the common. 

Parish council chairman Simon Mahaffey said: “We were going to suggest a licence which was free to professional dog-walkers.

“They would sign up to a code of conduct. 

“They would need to keep dogs under control and pick up poo.

“However, we are concerned about ground-nesting birds, but we could ask them to keep their dogs on a leash in those areas.”

Councillor Richard Westwood suggested that to protect ground nesting birds, dog-walkers could be asked to put their dogs on leashes only during nesting times. 

Councillor Mike Baldock added: “Licencing only works if there is someone to enforce it.

Mr Mahaffey said: “If they don’t abide by the code of conduct, then we will remove the licence, but it would be difficult to stop them from going on the common.”

It was suggested by Mr Mahaffey that a blanket ban on professional dog-walkers could be the best way forward. 

The issue of how a dog-walker was classified was also discussed and Mr Baldock said there was a difference between a dog-walker who walks one or two dogs when their owners are on holiday, to a company that walks multiple dogs at one time. 

At present there is legislation that prohibits professional dog-walkers from walking more than four dogs at any one time.

It was decided that the issue would be discussed further at the next parish council meeting.

There will also be a public meeting at 7.30pm on Monday, September 24, to discuss managing the common. 

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