Dog walkers’ code praised for raising standards in Adur and Worthing

Councillors and dog walkers in Buckingham Park, Shoreham
Councillors and dog walkers in Buckingham Park, Shoreham

A voluntary code of conduct for dog walkers has been credited with reducing complaints from pet owners since it was implemented by the council last year.

The partnership between professional dog walkers and Adur and Worthing Councils was introduced in September 2016.

While there are more than 50 professional dog walkers across the area, there is no legal framework to support and guide on good practice for this profession – and the council had received complaints from dog owners, a spokesman said.

Adur and Worthing Councils drew up a voluntary code of conduct to raise the standard of the services and within weeks, 70 per cent of known dog walkers had joined the scheme.

Now that a year has passed, the councils are evaluating the results and have found a large reduction in complaints.

Kate Tester, of Worthing-based Kate’s Dog Walking, said: “Customers liked the fact that council dog wardens have been involved in checking my standards.

“This reassures them that I have the interests and safety of their dogs at heart.”

The code provides dog owners a choice of walker they know is insured, is animal first aid trained and has agreed to the code of conduct.

Councillor Emma Evans, Adur District Council’s executive member for environment, said: “I am pleased that the dog walking community has got behind the scheme and made it such a success.”

Councillor Diane Guest, Worthing Borough Council’s executive member for environment, said: “This has really improved the services offered to dog owners and reduced complaints to our dog wardens.”