Dog Walkers in Australia Are Furious About New Regulations
Photo: Tim Hunter

Dog walking is a growing business in many countries. With the number of pets on the rise, the number of pet businesses is steadily increasing as well. Many businesses have their own facilities, but dog walkers are unique in that aspect. They use public areas to walk, exercise, and play with dogs. In one part of Australia that is becoming a problem.

In New South Wales, Australia, commercial dog walkers and residents are outraged over new regulations on dog walking permits that are being enforced by Manly Council. The new plan, which went into effect on September 7, 2015, states that commercial dog walkers won’t be able to use LM Graham Reserve. It is the only park in the area that is completely fenced off. The Council is only offering permits for Tania Park, Lagoon Reserve, and Seaforth Oval, and each dog walking business is restricted to the use of the one park that is on their permit.

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On top of all of that, the council is only handing out 3 permits per park. Anyone that doesn’t get one will be put on a waiting list. The prices of the permits have also increased this year, and they are going to be non-transferable. Each permit will only be able to have one name on it. Some dog walkers are saying that the new measures will ruin their business.

I couldn’t imagine what would happen if something like this happened in the United States. A spokesperson for the council says that the changes needed to be made in order to manage competing priorities. These parks are the property of the local government, so they certainly have the right to do whatever they want with them, but it certainly does seem that it will make things much harder for the local dog walking operations.

Daniel Telles owns Pet Solution Northern Beaches, and he says that the new restrictions would ruin his business. He is worried that he may have to fire the man that works for him. Telles says that his business typically walks up to 32 dogs each day, but the new restrictions would drop that number to 12. For small business owners who have worked hard to build their business, this will be very frustrating. Not to mention how detrimental it will be to the employees who may lose their jobs.

Dog Walkers in Australia Are Furious About New Regulations
Photo: Tim Hunter

Telles has started a petition against the new permits and he is hoping to gather enough signatures to approach the council. Many clients and residents are also outraged, so he’s hoping to gain support quickly. I know I would be outraged if something like this happened in my local community. I have a great deal of respect for small business owners, and this is certainly a slap in the face to the dog walkers in this area.

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If there were some type of trouble with dog waste not being cleaned up or numerous dog related issues happening in the parks, I could understand the Manly Council’s concern. Managing competing priorities? That just doesn’t sound like a good enough reason to force a regulation like this. If I were Mr. Telles I would want to know what those competing priorities were and why walking dogs in the park was a problem.

Having a fully fenced in public area is a great benefit to the dog walkers and the dog owners. It’s much safer than being in an open area. Of course that’s where the dog walkers would want to take their clients, so why ban them from that particular park? If I were Telles I would definitely demand answers to some very important questions.