September 17 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
A dog walker has got herself in a fine mess after she tried to sidestep a £50 fixed penalty for failing to clean up when her pet fouled on an Ipswich river path.
Now magistrates have ordered Janet Beckwith, of Riverside Road, Ipswich, to pay £320 in fines and costs after she was taken to court.
During a rare prosecution by the borough council it was alleged Beckwith also verbally abused a waste enforcement officer and gave him false address details.
Beckwith was convicted of being in charge of a dog and failing to remove faeces from designated land when her case came before South East Suffolk Magistrates Court. The 46-year-old had denied the charge.
The incident occurred on the river path alongside Bramford Road on November 12 just before 4.30pm.
Beckwith was seen walking two Alsatian type dogs, letting one of the animals defecate on the ground and leaving the mess there.
The waste enforcement officer, who was only five feet away, challenged Beckwith explaining it was an offence not to clear it up.
She refused to give him her details and was said to have become aggressive and threatening.
The official followed Beckwith for a short distance before she turned and shouted at him “I live at 139 Bramford Lane”.
She then started talking to a group of people and the officer decided to leave in case a further altercation took place.
The following day the officer checked the address Beckwith had given, only to find it did not exist.
Later that day the same officer spotted Beckwith in Bramford Road.
He followed her back to her address in Riverside Road, knocked on the door and asked to see some identification.
Beckwith was said to have been abusive in reply. She also admitted lying about her address previously.
The officer repeated his request for identification and Beckwith gave him her driving licence.
He told her she would be reported for the offence to which she was alleged to have sworn again.
Beckwith was sent a £50 fixed penalty for dog fouling.
On November 26 the officer’s line manager told him he had received a telephone call from Beckwith who stated she had cleaned up after her dog and had picked up the dog’s faeces. The officer was adamant Beckwith had not done so.
By April 23 the fine remained unpaid and despite a final seven-day reminder being sent legal action commenced following the expiry of the deadline.
Magistrates fined Beckwith £100 and ordered her to pay costs of £200. She was also told to pay £20 to the victims’ fund.
After the case Ipswich Borough Councillor Phil Smart, portfolio holder for waste enforcement, said: “We welcome the outcome of this case as we are determined to prosecute people who flout the law and do not clean up after their pets. The vast majority of pet owners do clear up after their dogs – those who don’t could find themselves out of pocket.”