Thursday 04 June 2020

Park dogged by rogue pet walkers calls for limit of three dogs per human

One dog is okay Photo: Molly Quell

The Amsterdamse Bos park has called for a dog walker limit of three dogs per person, after a reported rise in ‘illegal’ dog walking services.

Park managers have asked Amstelveen council to consider new limits due to the levels of nuisance and problems such as failure to clean up dog mess. Currently, people can take their dogs for a stroll as ‘amateur’ pet lovers but since 1st May 2016, companies have required a licence costing around €800 a year and have a maximum of five.

Paul Borgmann, of Woef! dogwalking service, told that dodgy agencies are a real problem, especially for those who try to keep to the rules. ‘I started nine years ago and there were just a few of us who were allowed by the foresters to go into the woods,’ he said.

‘Then everyone had to have a licence, and I have mine stuck in my wallet but nobody checks it.’

He said that he sees many more people who are apparently unlicenced dog walking services, who do not clean up dog mess and cause a nuisance, and calls the situation unfair. ‘If you personally had five dogs, you could ask for special permission, but a normal limit of three would mean you could easily see the dog walking services,’ he said.

Anne-Fleur Pel, a spokeswoman for Amstelveen council, told that it would be weighing up a change in rules over the summer: ‘A request was given in to the council on 3rd July and we are looking at it,’ she said. ‘The foresters have told us that there is a problem with dog walking services.’

The problem is thought to have exploded after Amsterdam – which owns the woods – and Amstelveen, where they are based, scrapped dog taxes meaning that there is no register of pets and owners.

Stemming from the times of the plague, most areas in the Netherlands tax dogs annually per head, and some even have dog inspectors who call, ring and listen for signs of undeclared four-legged friends.

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