The number of dogs a person can walk at a time could be cut to four in a bid to control dogs’ behaviour in parks and open spaces.

The proposals could also see dogs barred from sports pitches, including the football pitches at Hackney Marshes, which have recently seen an increase in paid dog walkers.

Hackney Council's cabinet voted on Monday (June 26) to hold a consultation on the measures after other councils brought in limits.

A report to the cabinet said there is also a hike in the number of professional dog walkers in Hackney parks and open spaces.

The report said: “It is very difficult for professional dog walkers to be in control of high numbers of dogs at any one time.”

Hackney-based dog behaviour expert Anna Webb said: “Four dogs is still too much if there is an incident.”

She said the death of a woman in Surrey in January who was killed by dogs as she was walking several canines “was a wakeup call", adding: "It could happen again.”

Ms Webb added it takes time and consistency to train dogs and said she has also noticed an increase in dog mess left around and “intimidation”.

She believes the success of a fenced-off dog exercise area, called for by some, depends on the size of the area set aside.

“Not all dogs like each other and dogs’ personal space is six feet,” she explained.

One Hackney professional dog walker who teamed up with others to create a code of conduct feared the proposed limits would force up prices.

Hackney brought in a public spaces protection order in 2017 to control the behaviour of dogs and their owners. It was put on hold between October 2020 and March 2021 during the first winter of the pandemic.

That order runs out next year, so the council is consulting over extending its powers.

Measures could include fines for people who fail to clear up dog faeces, exercise dogs in banned areas, do not keep them on a lead in lead-only areas or do not keep them under control.

People walking more than four dogs could also face fixed penalty fines of £100 or punishment up to £1,000 in the courts.

The City of London decided to issue a limited number of £300-a-year licences to professional dog walkers in 2021 and restrict them to walking a maximum of four dogs at a time.