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Gran shocked by letter threatening £1,000 fine two years after her dog strayed onto a path without a leash

16 Mar 2022 3 minutes Read
Karen Goodwin and her dog Tilly. Karen Goodwin says she received a fine two years after her dog Tilly strayed onto a path where dogs must be kept on leads.

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

A gran was left in shock after receiving a letter threatening her with a £1,000 fine – two years after her dog stepped onto a path without a leash.

Karen Goodwin, 58, was stopped by an enforcement four days before Christmas in 2019 after she crossed a pavement on Rhyl’s East Parade to retrieve her dog Tilly’s ball which had rolled onto the beach.

At the time she says she was allowed to walk the dog unleashed on both the grass and beach.

But all dogs must be on a lead if they are on the path and that’s when the District Enforcement Limited worker pounced, near the Rhyl Pavilion.

Karen, 58, says he issued a £100 on-the-spot, despite her pleas that the dog had only stepped onto the path for a second.

But they fell on deaf ears and she claims he “smirked” before issuing her with the fine and wishing her a “Merry Christmas”.

She didn’t pay the fine and heard nothing more about it until she received a letter on 9 February 2022 – 26 months after the incident from Denbighshire County Council (DCC).

The letter told her she faced legal proceedings and a maximum £1,000 fine and £150 court costs.

Karen from Rhyl said:  “I was shocked. I was thinking it was one thing after another, so I panicked. I was thinking if I don’t pay this, I’ll have to go to court. I was struggling as it is.”

‘Sorry’

The council has since cancelled the fine, admitting a mistake had been made after councillor Paul Penlington intervened on Karen’s behalf.

Cllr Penlington said: “I was contacted by a retired lady a few months ago who had been issued with a fixed penalty notice years after an alleged offence took place.  The legal timescale for issuing a fixed penalty notice is six months after the offence, so I took this up with DCC who waived the fine saying the late notice was ‘accidental’.”

A council spokesman admitted an error had been made and apologised. He added: “We continue to have public feedback which does support enforcement activity taking place in areas identified as dog fouling hotspots,” said the spokesman.

“We are sorry for any distress caused by the reminder letter sent to the resident which was the result of a clerical error by District Enforcement. This matter has now been resolved.

“The council would however like to remind the public that there is no appeal process, and that the FPN (fixed penalty notice) is an offer from us to discharge the liabilities for the offence they are being charged.”

District Enforcement Ltd were approached for comment.

Cllr Penlington said he called for the council to use its own staff to address dog fouling and focus on educating the public rather than just issuing fines when it did not renew its contract with Kingdom Enforcement in 2018.  But other other councillors chose to appoint another private company, District Enforcement Ltd, claiming it would be “cost-effective”, he added.


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