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GoFido exclusive: DEFRA’s uncertain path to dog walker licensing

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In the world of professional dog walkers, there has been growing speculation about the introduction of DEFRA licensing similar to that which regulates doggy day cares, breeders and kennels. GoFido spoke to the Canine & Feline Sector Group (CFSG), a key consultant for DEFRA, for some clarity.

Marisa Heath, the group’s coordinator, stated “DEFRA has not made any announcements about introducing [dog walker] licensing and from my understanding is not due to do so.”

Ms Heath explained, “DEFRA will release an impact assessment report on the Licensing of Activities Involving Animals Regulations,”. This legislation, introduced in 2018, currently covers other canine industries but does not include dog walkers, with Ms Heath going on to say that “While the report could consider expanding this scope, there’s no certainty that it will include professional dog walking.”. GoFido’s understanding is that this impact report was expected to be published and distributed to the licensing departments of local authorities in the autumn.

But Ms Heath highlighted the CFSG’s proactive approach to standardise the dog walking profession. “The CFSG has produced best practice for dog walkers which we are signing off shortly setting out how we think dog walkers should operate.”

But the CFSG also seems to favour a less burdensome approach for regulation. Ms Heath mentioned, “The group has set out their view that a registration system would be the best way forward by which dog walkers would log their business with the local authority and follow best practice but there would not be the same burden of inspection as there is with dog breeding, boarders etc.”

GoFido has requested a copy of the best practice document.

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