A Merton dog walker has slammed proposals to ban people from taking more than four dogs out at a time.

However, Merton Council say there is a growing number of people raising issues about dog mess and control.

The council is now considering raising Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) which would include a restriction on the amount of dogs walked by one person in any public space to four dogs and an order that would direct dog walkers to put their dogs on a lead when told by officers.

This would include Morden Hall Park and Mitcham Common but exclude Wimbledon Common which has its own byelaws.

The dog control PSPO was agreed unanimously cross-party at the full council meeting in March.

Dog owner Juliette Fioretta, who has lived in Morden for 15 years, objects to the restrictions.

She said: “I have a seven-year- old dog called Caramel and have been using a dog-walker for the past seven years.

“If the limit of four dogs per handler goes ahead, my dog walker would have to put her prices up significantly and I won’t be able to afford her services anymore.

“I believe it would also be very detrimental to the parks, the dog walkers all know each other, provide a sense of community in the parks and are always happy to exchange a chat with the newcomers."

The council ran a consultation on the issue from August to October last year and 1,243 individuals responded to a survey with 77% of them being Merton residents.

Dog owners, or dog-owning households, comprised 54% of residents with 56% residents classed themselves as regular dog walkers.

Of the proposals that a maximum of fours dogs should be walked by one person, 56% of dog owners and walkers supported the proposal and 87% of non dog owners/walkers with 70% being an overall figure.

Juliette said:“This order was passed by cabinet, in spite of the consultation order, without proper warning or publication of the results prior to the cabinet meeting.

“The cabinet might feel they have done their job but all they are doing is making my quality of life in Merton a little worse because I can no longer afford my dog walker.”

She added: “I really hope this proposal can be amended and not be enforced as it is, as it would be a real blow to dog-walkers around the borough.

“They are well respected professional people, who collaborate and help the dog warden in many cases.”

Councillor Nick Draper said: "A consultation is not a vote and its important that local authorities treat their results as advisory. However, the level of response to the consultation persuaded me that it was right to bring the new dog control measures to full cabinet, indeed had I not done so, I would have had a case to answer to the many people who made their opinions known.

"Merton like many of its neighbour local authorities decided to consult on stronger dog controls following a sharp rise in attacks on members of the public, from fourteen recorded incidents in 2013 to sixty-eight in 2017.

"The consultation which took place last year was well publicised generally and specifically targets towards organisation most affected. The resulting number of over 1,200 responses bears witness to the success of this."