Tuesday, 1 April 2014


Dog owners in the UK are being warned of the dangers of automatic dog-walking units. 

It comes after sales of the Walk-i device topped 1 million worldwide. The unit is now the fastest selling pet product in both the USA and Canada.

The Walk-i is the world's first autonomous drone specifically aimed at dog walkers. Priced at a hefty $2500, the Walk-i can be leashed to a dog's collar, allowing the drone to walk the pet when the owner is preoccupied. The manufacturers, Doggone Mad say the unit is capable of storing up to 10 pre-programmed routes and has a built in traffic sensor, enabling the Walk-i to safely walk your dog around the block. 

In the US, the product quickly occupied the #1 best seller spot and has been hailed as a "lifesaver" by many elderly pet owners. The Walk-i is due to be released in the UK on April 30th.

However, UK animal welfare organisations are now queuing up to warn owners of the dangers of such a device. Dog rescue charity Safe and Sound has cautioned that owners purchasing the Walk-i may find themselves in breach of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act and at risk of prosecution.

The charity's Chair warns that "pet owners in the UK have a legal duty to keep their dog 'under control' at all times. In relying on a device such as the Walk-i, dog owners are relinquishing control of their animal, opening themselves up to prosecution, as well as technically allowing their dog to stray. What happens if the dog sees a cat? Or is spooked while out unaccompanied? Could the dog find itself suspended mid air by the leash? The potential consequences of relying on this equipment are frightening".

The charity is one of many which is now calling for the Walk-i and other such devices to be withdrawn from sale in the UK.