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Dog Walker Regulations Coming to SF?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on December 15, 2011 8:14 AM

San Francisco is debating whether or not to impose new dog walker regulations. The new regulations, if passed, would require dog walkers to get permits and licenses.

The rules would apply to dog walkers who walk two or more canines at one time. In order to get the permit, dog walkers would need to meet a few requirements.

They would have to take training courses that will go over some of the basics of dog park etiquette, doggy first aid, and pack management. Would-be dog walkers would also be able to satisfy permit requirements by taking on an apprenticeship with an experienced dog walker.

Though this may seem excessive, advocates are pushing for the new rules in order to better protect dogs and public parks. The San Francisco Professional Dogwalkers Association also supports regulations. They want to legitimize their profession, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Permits would likely cost around $250, with a renewal fee of $100.

One contentious issue is the number of dogs a walker can take out at a time. Supervisor Scott Wiener originally proposed a limit of 7 dogs. That number has since been amended to 8, giving dog walkers more flexibility.

The debate over the dog walker regulations is something that small business owners should keep in mind. It might not occur to some entrepreneurs to get things like permits when they're simply using public parks and sidewalks. But depending on your city's ordinances, if your business uses public streets to sell goods or conduct commercial activity you might need to get some sort of license. So if you're thinking of starting up a food truck, or using a park to conduct a class, you better check regulations in your city first.

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