Fears over irresponsible commercial dog walkers

Commercial dog walkers have been letting dogs run amok off the leash, it is claimed
Commercial dog walkers have been letting dogs run amok off the leash, it is claimed

Irresponsible commercial dog walkers are causing havoc at Lennox Forest, it has been claimed.

James McMillan of Lennoxtown, who is himself a dog owner, said up to 20 animals at a time are allowed to run off the leash in the woodland at South Brae.

He told the Herald: “The dogs run around like crazy. It is often very intimidating because they come up to you barking like mad. The walkers have no control over them.

“The amount of dog fouling underfoot is also horrendous. No one seems to bother picking up and there are often about 20 dogs there twice a day every day.

“I have seen them arrive around 9am at the car park at South Brae in their vans. More often than not, there is more than one dog walking firm and they join together, take the dogs for an hour round a circle in the forest and then come back a couple of hours later.

“There are dogs there for most of the day.”

James claimed the walkers very often lose sight of some of the dogs for a time because they are all off the lead.

He said: “They are clearly flouting the law. I wonder if the dog owners who pay up to £9 an hour realise what’s happening.”

He added: “The main problem is no one is policing this. But something has to be done.”

Commercial dog walkers must follow the guidance provided in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and keep dogs under proper control at all times.

And from April 1 this year, the fine for dog owners who fail to pick up after their pets is set to be doubled by the Scottish Parliament from £40 to £80.