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Dog walkers restricted to 3 dogs in Toronto..

June 10th, 2005, 07:12 AM
At the same time some dog walkers were supporting Bill 132 the City of Toronto snuck a change to a bylaw in. While I enjoy seeing some egg on the face of some of these dog walkers (especially the one that called herself a trainer at the hearings) is this bylaw too much?

The comment that `This came out of the blue with no consultation' indicates that as far as dog laws are concerned that Toronto has learned from the provincial government.

Walkers growl at dog bylaw
New rules limit number of canines to three at a time
`This came out of the blue with no consultation'


Dogs won't be the only ones yelping in parks this summer. Professional dog walkers say a new city parks bylaw limiting to three the number of dogs one person can walk will put them out of business.

"I'm outraged," said Eric Pressman, driving across town in his minivan yesterday to pick up the first of seven dogs for a walk in Sunnybrook Park. "This came out of the blue with no consultation."

"This will cut our business in half," agreed Andrew Morris, business affairs manager of Metro Dogstop. "What are dog walkers who have companies and families and car loans supposed to do?"

Toronto City Council passed the rule without public debate as part of a package of park bylaws last September. But bylaw officers have only recently begun enforcing it giving warnings to people they find in the parks with more than three dogs. Soon, they'll be issuing $380 tickets, said Moses Cabral, the city's supervisor of bylaw enforcement in parks.

The city has just eight bylaw officers to patrol its parks, enforcing everything from picnic rules to setting off firecrackers. In the case of the dog walkers, animal control officers will also be allowed to issue the tickets. The city is also stepping up enforcement of its off-leash bylaw, and has issued 15 tickets in the last few weeks, which range from $130 to $380.

The dog-walking rule was drafted to comply with an existing animal control regulation, which limits the number of dogs in any home to three, Cabral explained.

"We feel that three dogs in a person's care or control is more than enough to take on. Anything more than that is quite difficult and park users are at risk, safety-wise," he said.

There are reports of dog walkers pulling up in their vans to unleash 10 unconstrained hounds on a park at once, he said. Plus, there's a growing concern about dog walkers using city parks for their business.

"There's an ever-increasing number of dogs and dog walkers that are utilizing our parks respectably or not," said Sandy Straw, the city's manager of a "Dogs in Parks" strategy team that's addressing concerns.

"We're trying to be clear about the codes of conduct in parks, the business use of parks, and how we can get a handle on it."

But are professional dog walkers being penalized for the acts of a few bad, negligent handlers?

Most handlers have obedience training, canine first aid, and walk no more than six dogs at a time, said Diana Eibner, founder of the Professional Dog Walkers Association International. The group has set down a code of conduct for its 95 members.

Instead of three dogs, Eibner thinks the bylaw should allow six. She said her dog walkers always meet and assess their furry clients before taking them on. "We pay attention to the dogs. We know their behaviour and personalities and what they're typically going to do before they do it." Morris has organized a forum of 100 dog walkers in the city, called the Dog Walkers Coalition of Toronto, to address the new rules. Dog walkers aren't alone in using public space for work, he said.

"There's nannies that use the parks, yoga classes in the parks, all kinds of business going on in parks," Morris said.

Heading out into Cedarvale Park with her dogs, Deena Cooper admitted some city regulation is required. She's heard of dog walkers with 12 dogs.

"That's a catastrophe waiting to happen," said Cooper, who runs Deena's Dog Services. "It only takes one dog to go off and you're toast."

City Councillor Paula Fletcher agrees. She's investigating a permit-system, where qualified dog walkers could pay for city permits to walk more than three dogs at one time. "So if you weren't in control of your four or five dogs, you would not be able to walk them," said Fletcher (Ward 30, Toronto-Danforth). Any amendment to the bylaw would take months, however. In the meantime, bylaw officers will be issuing tickets.

"If you don't want dogs in parks, where am I supposed to walk the dogs? " Pressman said, "Down Bay St.?"

June 10th, 2005, 07:33 AM
I couldn't ever imagine giving my dog to a walker with half a dozen dogs or more. There is no way all those dogs could be under the walker's control all the time.

June 10th, 2005, 07:37 AM
But what about six little ones DB7?

June 10th, 2005, 07:45 AM
I don't think it's a good idea for too many dogs, regardless of size.

The little ones get tangled in their leashes and bounce around much more. The large ones, if you have too many, can easily take out the dog walker and run the show---or run away.

June 10th, 2005, 07:55 AM
I would have to agree with the limit of three dogs at one time. I don't agree with only three dogs all day. We have a dog walker in our area and she goes out with three at a time and has lovely control of them. You'll see her pass by again later with three different dogs. I see no difference between someone having three dogs or three children to control in a park. Many a time I have seen daycare groups in the park with 3 adults and way too many kids to control. What makes this any different? I think Toronto is beginning to become ridiculous about animal control.

June 10th, 2005, 09:10 AM
In Nuns Island, my friend was stopped because she was walking her 3 dogs. They told her,she could only walk two at a time.

June 10th, 2005, 07:15 PM
Well Im glad our old friend English Nannies for Dogs wont be able to get her paws on too many dogs at the same time, but, this law is really bad for Professional people. I was just talking to a friend of mine who is a certified vet technition and is someone who I would trust with any dog, she was telling me that the dog training/walking community had heard "rumours" about this limit. It will undoubtably put good people out of business and for or against this limit, they SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONSULTED! and now that I think about it I dont think the ENglish Nanny even lives in Toronto. :sad: As for my friend, she can control six dogs, no problem, I tell people she speaks 'dog" I am in total awe of her and I believe that trained professionals should be lisenced, but not put out of business like this law will undoubtably accomplish. Its all part of a growing anti-dog sentiment in the city. :sad:

June 10th, 2005, 09:33 PM
I think TO is just getting started.
Fillon and other councillors commented that they have been looking into new ways of increasing revenue recieved from dog owners, after they did that BSL study.

I agree with limiting the number of dogs, but they shouldn't have snuck the by-law through like they did. I saw a person trying to handle 8 mid/large dogs, and get dragged all over the place. Honestly, I was amazed they stayed on their feet.

As for the english nanny: I hope the good citizens ensure that she obeys the law - just like, I'm sure, she plans to ensure that bill 132 is complied with. :)

I think they'll end up doing the permit thing - they get the cash upfront and it frees up bylaw enforcement to harass other dog owners( = more $).

June 12th, 2005, 01:53 AM
in australia a person can only ever walk 4 dogs at any one time, which i think is too much, three i feel better about....

have you ever had to walk past a man with 3 grey hounds and a rottie, i for one know we crossed the road, if he lost control of 4 dogs my 1 dog would not have a chance........

June 13th, 2005, 12:48 PM
[I totally agree! The slightest thing can set off a dog and result in complete chaos. Toronto is a big city bustling with activity and the dog walkers must adjust to the new law OR pay a fee to walk more than 3 at a time.