Signs forbidding commercial dog walking to be erected on Bricket Wood Common

PUBLISHED: 19:00 11 July 2018

Professional dog walkers in St Albans could become subject to new regulations.

Professional dog walkers in St Albans could become subject to new regulations.

DenzilMann

Commercial dog walkers are being warned that they are not welcome on Bricket Wood Common.

Residents say commercial dog walkers are bringing up to 20 animals to the common at a time – making it dangerous for wildlife, other users and even the dogs themselves.

It is hoped they will be deterred by new ‘commercial dog walking is not permitted’ signs – reminding users that it is not permitted to run a business on the common.

Vice-chair of the Bricket Wood Common Management Committee, Cllr Sue Featherstone, said: “The number of dogs being walked by one person can be up to 20.

“They are not on leads – and it’s unacceptable.

“What is really worrying is that if a group of dogs is exercised in the same area on a regular basis they can become like a pack.”

On at least one occasion, says Cllr Featherstone, dogs have darted out from the common into the path of traffic.

And, she says, a muntjac deer is believed to have been mauled by dogs off the lead.

On Tuesday (July 3) the Bricket Wood Common Management Committee agreed to the new signs – reminding users that it’s prohibited to run a business on the common.

Meanwhile the committee also plans to gather evidence of people walking more than four dogs at a time.

Ultimately that could lead to a Public Spaces Protection Order, which would make walking too many dogs in the area a fineable offence.

Cllr Featherstone, who represents the St Stephen ward, believes professional dog walkers are travelling to the commom from London, where, she says, walking too many dogs is banned.

She wants users of Bricket Wood Common to record every time they see someone walking more than four dogs.

The evidence, she says, will then be used to determine whether a PSPO is warranted and whether it could be pursued.

There are places in London which regulate dog walking - for example Wandsworth Borough Council rule that a licence is required for anyone to walk four to eight dogs at any one time.

Information can be passed to Cllr Featherstone via cllr.s.featherstone@stalbans.gov.uk

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A few years back I was fixing a shed in our garden and had enlisted the help of my young son. We were busy moving rotten pieces of wood from the side of the shed when suddenly I felt sharp stabbing pains in my lower legs. Before I had a chance to investigate my son started screaming in pain and it took a few more seconds to realize that we were trampling on a wasps’ nest!

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