A mum has vowed to contest a £100 fine after claiming an environmental enforcer watched her struggle with her young child before she could clean up after her dog.
Susie Foley, 35, was putting her 18 month old daughter, Scarlett, into her pram when her pug dog, Stan, fouled in a public car park close to Fleetwood’s main beach.
Mrs Foley says the enforcement officer then approached and informed her that as the dog had fouled, and she had not cleaned up the mess “forthwith”, she was liable for a fixed penalty notice.
The mum-of-one, of Hawley Gardens, Thornton, argues that the enforcement officer did not give her time to tidy up and was too quick to issue her with the notice.
But the environmental enforcement firm District Enforcement Ltd, acting on behalf of Wyre Council, said Mrs Foley did allow her dog to foul in a public place, on January 27, and did not attend to it.
Wyre Council told the shocked dog owner it had reviewed body-worn video footage and backed the officer’s decision.
Having unsuccessfully appealed against the fine by email, Mrs Foley has now been warned she will be taken to court if she does not pay up by April 15.
She said: “I was angry and upset because all the six years I have had my dog I have always cleaned up after him, I am a responsible owner.
“I have no problem with wardens fining people who just allow their dogs to foul public areas.
“But this enforcement warden could see what was happening, I had to put the safety of my daughter first before I attended to the dog.
“He did not even give me a chance to deal with it, and that is the frustrating thing.
“If I am forced to pay this fine I will pay it, but I am arguing about the principle of the thing.”
Wyre has previously stated that residents across the borough have highlighted dog fouling in public spaces as a major issue they want to see tackled by the council.Last year the authority approved a 12-month pilot scheme deploying Liverpool firm District Enforcement Ltd to combat environmental crime.
Its officers are armed with body-worn, high definition cameras to film footage of wrong-doing in all cases where notices are handed out.
After her appeal was turned down Mrs Foley, who works as an administrator for plastics firm Victrex, contacted Wyre Council about the matter, hoping the council would relent because of the circumstances.
But she says an environmental officer said the official had acted fairly and within his remit, and refusal to pay could result in her being liable for prosecution.
A spokesman for District Enforcement Ltd said: “We cannot comment on this case as it is an ongoing investigation.
“Should the alleged offender fail to discharge their liability from prosecution by paying the fixed penalty notice, the case will be referred to a magistrates’ court.
“It is important to note that if any of our environmental crime officers observe a member of the public failing to pick up after their dog, they will be issued with an on-the-spot fixed penalty notice of £100.
“All of our patrols are intelligence-led across the borough of Wyre, which have resulted in the issuance of 35 fixed penalty notices for dog fouling since October 29, 2018.”
Wyre Council said it was aware of the matter but declined to comment.
A 12-month deal is in place that saw District Enforcement Ltd officers take to the streets of Wyre in October.
At the same time, fines for dog fouling were increased from £75 to £100.
Since then, the number of fines handed out has risen sharply from five in 14 months to 38 in the four months since the pilot began.
Wyre said the deal is not about raising money as it keep just 12.5 per cent of the revenue.