Fines for Mold dog walkers rescinded due to lack of signage
Fines for several dog walkers who allowed their pets off the lead on playing fields in Mold have been rescinded because of a lack of signs outlining the rules.
It comes after a community leader raised the case of two people who were punished for allowing their animals to roam free at The Rec during a recent Flintshire Council meeting.
Mold Broncoed councillor Hadyn Bateman said he had no issue with the restrictions on allowing dogs off the lead on marked pitches in the county, but had received complaints from the pair because of the absence of signs to inform people.
Addressing a meeting of the authority’s environment scrutiny committee, he suggested enforcement officers should have given them advice rather than fine them.
The council has now revealed it has rescinded the fixed penalty notices after staff who inspected the site found that notices previously put up to warn dog owners had been removed.
It said it had since replaced them with clearer notices and the move has been welcomed by Cllr Bateman.
He said: “When you’ve got a vast area like that it needs proper signage when you’re fining people.
“I’m happy with the legislation, but you’ve got to follow it up and do it properly.
“What they’ve done now is agreed to what I told them and they’ve rescinded the fines for these people, not on the basis that they didn’t commit the offence, but that they didn’t realise you couldn’t do it.
“It wasn’t fair on the people who didn’t know.”
Cllr Bateman said he understood eight fines had been revoked in total.
Flintshire Council recently brought its environmental enforcement service, which takes action against littering, dog fouling and other offences, back in-house following the departure of Kingdom Services.
The external company previously drew criticism for its tactics, with some people accusing its staff of being heavy handed in issuing £75 fines.
As part of agreeing for the authority to take on more of its own officers, backbench politicians in the county called for a better balance between enforcement and education.
In response to the issues raised, Flintshire’s chief officer for Streetscene and transportation said restricted sites would be inspected more frequently in future to ensure adequate signage is in place.
Steve Jones said: “During the implementation of the Public Space Protection Orders across the county, signs were erected at all of the main access points to council owned open space.
“Following an inspection, it was apparent that that these signs and other informative material had been removed from this particular location however, the signs have subsequently been replaced and in future regular inspections of the signage will be undertaken.
“The fixed penalty notices recently issued to dog walkers in that area have been rescinded.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here). Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com