SASKATOON -- The amount of dogs one person is allowed to have at an off-leash dog park could increase.

City administration recommends capping the number of dogs one person can have at an off-leash dog park at four dogs.

Commercial dog walkers could have a maximum of eight dogs with a commercial permit, and only at select dog parks approved by the city, according to administration. 

City council is scheduled to vote on the administration's recommendation at a meeting on Monday. 

The recommendation comes after the city tried capping the number of dogs allowed per person across all city off-leash dog parks. But at its February meeting, city council heard from professional dog walkers, who spoke against the four-dog limit, saying it would have detrimental consequences to its dog-walking business.

"If I am limited on the number of dogs I can walk at a time it will greatly reduce my income, which may force me out of business," Lynsay Haanstra wrote in a letter to council in February. 

Following further public consultations, the city of Saskatoon is recommending allowing commercial dog walkers acquire a permit to walk up to eight dogs at once, but only at four larger off-leash dog parks in Saskatoon (Hampton, Southwest, Sutherland Beach and Chief Whitecap Off-Leash Areas), according to a city report. 

“These areas were found to be the most conducive sites based on usable space, other park uses and sightlines. Other larger off-leash areas, such as the Avalon and Silverwood Off-leash Areas were reviewed and found unsuitable due to high patron counts in relation to usable space, site lines and mixed usage concerns,” the city said in its report to council. 

If city council votes in favour of the recommendation to obtain a license, commercial dog walkers seeking a permit would be required to schedule an appointment with Animal Control, and undergo an evaluation on safety and bylaw compliance, the city said. 

Furthermore, commercial dog walkers will have to provide proof of liability insurance with a minimum $2 million in coverage. 

“Commercial dog walkers who receive bylaw violations on two or more separate occasions, while working as a commercial dog walker may have their privileges to walk five to eight dogs revoked by the city,” according to the report. 

If approved by council, the city recommends the permit process to take effect Jan. 1, 2021.