SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The city has refined a set of proposed rules for professional dog walkers that would charge for permits and mandate training, leashes and even poop clean-up.

Canine caregivers have been urging the city to set standards in their industry for years, and the only contentious part of the legislation was a clause restricting the number of dogs that could be walked at one time.

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KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Eight dogs was too few in a business where the loss of even one dog could make a huge difference in monthly income, said several dog walkers who testified Wednesday before the Board of Supervisors Finance Committee.

The actual cap is 9, since a licensed dog walker would also be allowed to parade their own pooch along with the group.

Supervisor Scott Weiner opened the hearing with a statement acknowledging how vital the dog walking industry is to San Francisco’s economy.

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“Dog walkers are a key part of San Francisco’s commercial support structure. They are small business owners and they deserve our support,” he said.

The legislation sets a $250 price for an annual permit to use Golden Gate Park and other city-owned land, such as the Embarcadero waterfront, for professional walks.

If passed, the city law would not affect the popular dog walking trails around Fort Funston that are subject to federal supervision as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Although a famous TV commercial about dog litter helped establish the late Harvey Milk’s legislative reputation on issues beyond gay rights in the 1970s, San Francisco has never before regulated professional dog walkers.

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