Dog Walking Charter

Woman Walking Dogs
Woman Walking Dogs

There was a very keen debate and a close vote at the New Forest National park Authority meeting today.

Eventually, by eight votes to six, members voted to support a new Professional Dog Walkers Charter for the New Forest.

There is already a New Forest Dog Walking code, developed by the New Forest Dogs Forum.

However, it was felt that there was also a need to produce a document for people who provide a dog walking service for the public.

It’s a largely unregulated activity and the Forestry Commission do not favour regulation.

Some members were not prepared to support the charter, arguing that there needs to be regulation and suitable penalties for people who aren’t interested in abiding by the guidance within the charter.

I reminded members that we had a similar debate in advance of the Cycle Event Organisers’ Charter, where we have similar issues with no legal powers to determine what happens on the roads, but, despite this it has been very largely successful.

Changing the law is not easily possible.

It’s a bit of a compromise, however, I hope that with the charter in place, the support of local dog walking organisations and a continuing drive to educate people about effective control of dogs in the New Forest, we will get largely what we want.

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