Mother fined £50 for grooming dogs in a park

Tracey Hayes

Tracey Hayes, a 46 year old mother from Romford in Essex, received a £50 fine for brushing her dogs in a local park. She had just finished brushing golden retriever Biskit and German Shepherd Rocky, when wardens presented her with an on-the-spot fine.

So is this the oddest penalty wardens have issued?
She told the Daily Mirror that she had been grooming her dogs to keep them cool while her son played football nearby.

Grooming big dogs like this does produce an awful lot of hair. Councillor Andrew Curtin of Havering Council told the Daily Mail: "We put a lot of time and effort into keeping our parks clean. Littering anywhere in the borough incurs a fine, whether it's a single cigarette butt or clumps of dog hairs in a public space."

Dog hair

Hayes is not the first dog owner to upset the authorities. In 2007 Denis Basford from Gosport in Hampshire was warned he was littering when he brushed his dog in the boot of his car. He was told that if he did it again he could receive a £70 fine for littering.

In October 2011 Roy Wyre was fined for brushing his dog in a Nottingham park - although after the story appeared in the newspapers the fine was dropped and an apology ordered.

However, dog owners argue that dog hair falls naturally from their dogs, and if they didn't brush them, the hair would fall out everywhere. Presumably the dog itself would then be guilty of littering. They also say that the hair is great nesting material for birds.

Crazy fines

It's not an open and shut case. However, it is tempting to come down on the side of the dog owners when you bear in mind the ridiculous fines that councils have handed out for 'littering' in the past.

Just last week a woman from Bolton was issued with a fine, after she fed the last of a leftover pasty to a pigeon. The warden said she fell foul of the rules because she was encouraging vermin. However, the council dropped the fine, agreeing that in this case it might have been better to talk to her rather than fleece her for £75.

In March this year Georgie Stanley from Hillingdon was ordered to pay a fine of £100, plus court costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £15. She had initially received a fine for throwing a cigarette butt down a drain, and had been taken to court after failing to pay it.

In October 2009, a man was fined £340 by Rhondda Cynan Taf council for throwing a banana skin out of a car.

In March last year, 71-year-old Valerie George was fined £75 after a strand of cotton fell from her glove while out shopping in Brynmawr. The council quickly rescinded the fine.

In 2008 Sarah Davies was fined £75 after a 'bite-sized' piece of sausage roll that her four-year-old was eating fell onto the street in Hull. The appeal court found in her favour after it emerged it had subsequently been eaten by a pigeon.

Then there's the shocker from 2007, which must surely unite the nation in horror: when a man in Carmarthenshire was fined £75 for throwing a parking ticket on the floor in disgust.

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Mother fined £50 for grooming dogs in a park

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