PAID dog walkers face being turned away from parks if they do not have the right insurance under new rules which come into force this week.

Edinburgh City Council is demanding professional dog walkers get public liability insurance to qualify for mandatory new licences regulating their behaviour.

The council's definition of a professional dog walker is anyone who takes money to walk a dog. That means children who get pocket money for walking a neighbour's pet will also need to comply.

Those who do not have the insurance, which costs around £140 a year, will officially be in breach of the code and will be evicted from the capital's parks.

It is the most controversial aspect of a new eight-point code of conduct which the council has introduced to better regulate professional dog walkers.

Other rules include cleaning up after dogs, keeping them under proper control and a recommendation to walk no more than eight dogs at a time.

Edinburgh City Council passed the new rules on January 31, becoming the first Scottish local authority to manage commercial dog walking, after complaints of irresponsible behaviour.

The laws give park wardens the power to kick out anyone without a proof of permission card – gained by signing up to the code of conduct – or those who break the rules.

A spokesman for the council said: "There have been incidents in our parks where we have had complaints about intimidation. A professional dog walker taking out 10 or 11 dogs, it's uncontrollable in a way.

"This allows our wardens walking around the parks to be able to challenge anyone who looks as if they are not handling dogs properly, and ultimately evict them from the park if that's the case."

Glasgow City Council said it did not have any similar licences and stated that many aspects of Edinburgh's new code of conduct are already enshrined in existing legislation.

Professional dog walking has become increasingly common in recent years and can be a lucrative pursuit, with people being paid between £12 and £14 an hour per pet.

Traditionally families across the UK have asked their neighbour's children to walk dogs while they are on holiday in return for some small change – a practice which would be barred without proper insurance under Edinburgh's proposed laws.

Robin Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Registered Petsitters, which represents around 7000 paid dog walkers, welcomed the move and criticised the use of children.

He said: "Children should not be walking dogs, it is a ridiculous situation. It is not like doing a paper round. Dogs can be extremely dangerous. If a child gets pulled over, or causes any damage to another dog or another person in that park, you can't hold a child responsible.

"It should be the responsibility of the parents to make sure children do not walk dogs.

"It is not a joke walking dogs, it is a serious business. People can get hurt, other animals can get hurt. This is not something children should be playing at."

Lucy Bonnett, chairman of the Association of Professional Dog Walkers, agreed that those acting commercially must be insured, but called on the council to tighten its definitions.

She said: "Who is a professional dog walker? If a neighbour walks a dog is that a professional dog walker?

"Because if someone is walking one dog and that child is responsible enough ... I don't see why that should be a problem."

A spokesman for Edinburgh City Council said the laws were designed to improve the safety of their parks and stressed that eviction would only be used as a last resort.