The UK is toast.
Emilia Bona reports for the Liverpool Echo, Jan. 6, 2019, that an 80-year-old grandmother was fined for walking her dog near her house in Bootle, a town in Sefton Council, Merseyside, England, because her dog lead was “too long”.
Maureen Sanders, 80, was walking her rescue dog Soren around Bootle Cemetery on the morning of January 4, 2019, when she was stopped by two officers from enforcement firm NSL.The two women told Maureen her dog lead was “too long” and needed to be less than two meters (6.56 ft.) if she wanted to use it in the area.
Note: NSL is a private company that “operate in local and central government, health, airports and the private sector offering business process management, enforcement, patient care, passenger transport, street and estate management and technical design consultancy.”
Sanders said that instead of issuing her a warning or explaining the rules to her, the officers slapped her with a £50 ($63.80) fine for breaking the by-law and, if she doesn’t pay the fine in a fortnight, you would be fined £2,500 ($3,190) and would have a criminal record.
Sanders said: “I cried all night because I was so, so upset. I don’t have a computer or anything – I wouldn’t know the by-laws or anything. I’ve always been very respectful in the cemetery. I always have the dog on a lead and a lot of people don’t do that! Soren is from Romania and I’ve had him about three years. He’s a friendly dog but he can get quite frightened because he had a bad time in Romania. I had no idea it was a rule. My daughters rang the One Stop Shopwhen I had to pay the fine and the staff in there said they had never heard of it.”
Indeed, the signs on the cemetery gates make no mention of the maximum length of dog leads or of fines.
Sanders’ daughter Maggie Eaton said she found her mum in “floods of tears” after being handed the fine. She said her mum is waiting for a hip replacement and needs to use a longer lead to walk Soren because she has difficulty walking. Eaton also said her mum is a responsible dog owner who “always carries poo bags and cleans up after her dog without fail. Mum does not have that sort of money to pay for walking her dog under control on a lead as she has done every day for years.”
Eaton and her sister have offered to help their mother pay the £50 fine so the money doesn’t come out of her pension. But Sanders says she is refusing to pay the fine on principle.