Dog owner ordered to remove 15kg of pet's waste from garden - after claiming it ate council's warning letters
PUBLISHED: 14:27 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:40 13 February 2020
A dog owner has been fined more than £1,700 after failing to clear 15kg of dog waste from his own garden, claiming his dog ate letters warning him of action.
Paul McConville, of Lowestoft, sparked complaints from neighbours after amassing an accumulation of dog waste in his Avondale Road garden in May 2019.
After two letters requesting McConville clean up the waste went ignored, McConville was visited by East Suffolk Council's private sector housing officer on June 7 and 20, with the amount of waste increasing.
The council served an abatement notice on June 25, but McConville made no effort to remove the waste, with two council officers removing approximately 5kg on August 13.
A spokesperson for ESC said: "Further waste accumulated, despite a further letter reminding him of the ongoing requirements of the abatement notice.
"During a site visit in September, officers noted the waste was still present, along with a strong smell which would have prevented the neighbours from using their garden."
On October 2, McConville was notified of his breach of the notice, and informed the council's intention to clean up the waste and charge him for the costs.
However, on December 3, during a visit to remove the waste, McConville denied receiving the letters, suggesting his dogs may have eaten them, and said he was unaware the council had removed waste in August.
Officers cleared approximately 10kg of waste, with disinfectant sprayed over the area.
McConville did not attend a hearing into the matter at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court on Thursday, January 30, but was found guilty in absence of breaching an abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act.
McConville was fined £500 for breaching the abatement notice by failing to remove the waste, as well as an additional £500 for failing to prevent the recurrence of the waste. He must also pay £400, £325 compensation and a £50 victim surcharge.
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One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "He thinks he is above it. We have lived here for three years and I have never seen him picking any up once.
"I phoned the council but he hasn't picked any up since the council came round to do it.
"I don't know why someone would want to live like that.
"The wall between our gardens had to come down and I picked up half a bag's worth from where his dogs have been getting into ours.
"He never takes them out for walks, so that is their only place to use the toilet.
"I can't open my windows or back door in summer because of all the flies and the smell."
Another neighbour said: "He doesn't care at all. He is an absolute nightmare.
"It is so bad in his back garden that our cats brought a rat home one night.
"The smell from the waste was horrendous, especially in the summer."
Councillor James Mallinder, East Suffolk's cabinet member for the environment, said: "East Suffolk is a dog friendly district and we know that most dog owners are responsible and clear up after their pets.
"There are a small number of inconsiderate people who feel the rules do not apply to them, but there is absolutely no excuse for failing to clear up after your dog, even on private property.
"I would like to thank our Private Sector Housing Team for persevering with this unpleasant case.
"We will not hesitate to take action against anyone who is found responsible for despoiling our environment."