Regulations would put a short leash on dog-walking industry

(SF Examiner file photo)

A plan to create the first regulations for San Francisco’s dog-walking industry moves closer to adoption today, but debate remains unsettled over the number of dogs to be permitted per walker.  

For years, city officials have discussed regulating the dog-walking industry amid concerns about people walking too many dogs and failing to adequately control them or pick up their feces. But taking on the dog lobby is one of the most politically challenging tasks in a city in which one-third of all households possess canines and hundreds of dog walkers ply their trade.

Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposed legislation imposing regulations on the dog-walking industry will be heard by the Board of Supervisors for the first time today at the Land Use and Economic Development Committee meeting.

One of the measure’s most contentious provisions is capping at seven the number of dogs that one could walk at a time.

Amad Demetrious, owner of Little Buddhas Dog Walking, said during a recent city hearing he wanted “the number to stay as high as possible just to be able to make a good living.” He said he has walked up to 13 dogs at a time.

Wiener said he is open to changes. Adding to the debate is that the federal agency overseeing Ocean Beach is considering a limit of six dogs per dog walker.

Under Wiener’s proposal, a permit would cost $250 for the first year and $100 in subsequent years. Violations of the law would result in fines of up to $500. Violators’ names would be posted on the Animal Care and Control Department site for up to three years.

The full board would need to approve the legislation. That vote is expected as early as January.

The regulations would go into effect in October.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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