Select Committee on Committee on the London Local Authorities Bill Minutes of Evidence


Evidence before the Committee (Questions 760-779)

WEDNESDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2003

760.  From that picture?

(Mrs Kisko) I am sorry, you cannot tell anything from those photographs.

761.  We have already had a discussion as to how good or bad the photographs are.

(Mrs Kisko) Yes.

762.  Training for walkers, I think you said, is very important.

(Mrs Kisko) Yes.

763.  Do you think that people who are doing the walking of dogs should have to pass an examination and have a licence?

(Mrs Kisko) They may have to but I think it needs considering. Unfortunately it is not being considered here.

764.  You are the expert, I want your opinion. I am not an expert on dogs, I do not have one.

(Mrs Kisko) I can tell that.

765.  Do you think that people who have dogs, particularly the people looking after them, should have to sit an examination and have a licence?

(Mrs Kisko) It may not be an examination but I would say they certainly need to be trained and I would think the idea of a licence is a good one, but not based on this. This will not achieve what Wandsworth want to achieve.

766.  I will take that as a yes.

(Mrs Kisko) Whatever.

767.  CHAIRMAN: I have just got a couple of quick questions. I think you implied the answer to the first one. Does the Kennel Club have a list of approved dog-walkers?

(Mrs Kisko) No. We would like to have but we do not. Could I elaborate?

768.  Yes.

(Mrs Kisko) We have an accreditation scheme which we have started for all forms of trainers and that covers dog trainers, whether it be for obedience or field trials or shows, whatever. We are hoping that accreditation scheme will be extended to all forms of contact between human and dog.

769.  So if you had an accredited dog-walker scheme and an accredited list of dog-walkers, this would remove the responsibility from councils to do it. It is just a thought.

(Mrs Kisko) Yes, absolutely.

770.  I thought, with respect, you were being slightly disingenuous when you were talking about four dogs on a lead and, therefore, they would be under control and if there were four dogs off the lead they would be dispersed around the park and they would not be a pack.

(Mrs Kisko) The suggestion was made earlier what would happen if the dogs were dispersed across the park. They are no longer a pack once they are dispersed so they are not going to act in a pack manner. They would certainly still be a pack, in my opinion, if they were on the lead and there were four of them. A general rule of thumb is three or more makes a pack but if you have got them on the lead you have hold of them. As David suggested earlier, it is not in the professional dog-walker's interest to have a lot of dogs that are then going to behave badly.

771.  I accept all of that but are you honestly expecting the Committee to believe that if you have got four or five dogs loose, off the lead, running around the park ----

(Mrs Kisko) I am not saying that is a good thing at all.

772.  But you said that they would not be acting as a pack because they are dispersed around the park. I would say there is a great likelihood that they could come together and if they wanted to act as a pack they are beyond that elastic lead that you have mentioned.

(Mrs Kisko) Absolutely.

773.  JOHN ROBERTSON: I wonder if I could ask one other question. Do you think that we should put an amendment into the Bill to ensure that people keep their dogs on leads within certain parks?

(Mrs Kisko) I think that is not really what Wandsworth would like to see. I do not think that is what any of us would like to see because obviously there is great merit in dogs being able to take free exercise. I think our main problem with this is that it has not been widely enough discussed and it needs a lot more expert opinion put into it, and that is not any way to take Wandsworth's expertise into question.

774.  Your personal advice would be to keep dogs on a lead?

(Mrs Kisko) If you want to keep out of all trouble, keep dogs on leads. I would not suggest that should come automatically.

775.  CHAIRMAN: Are you therefore advocating that if a dog-walker has more than four dogs, as long as he kept only two or three loose and the rest on the lead at any one time that would be satisfactory?

(Mrs Kisko) I would have said that was very sensible.

776.  CHAIRMAN: I see. Thank you.

777.  MR MUNDY: I have no points in re-examination.

The witness withdrew

778.  CHAIRMAN: Thank you.

779.  MR MUNDY: It would be appropriate now for me to conclude our case. As suggested in the Petition, the Kennel Club and the Pet Care Trust take the view that these provisions, if implemented across all the London boroughs, will have a serious impact upon the ability of pet owners to walk their dogs and to have their dogs walked. We believe from the evidence that this Committee has seen, both in terms of the photographs and the correspondence and the other evidence given, that there is little evidence that multiple dog-walking is a serious problem across London.


 
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