Council backs down on dog fine to 83-year-old amid public outcry

Mrs Goring with the fine notice from Central Beds Council
Mrs Goring with the fine notice from Central Beds Council

A woman from Dunstable was relieved after her “ridiculous” £80 fine for taking a small dog into a children’s play area was quashed amid public outcry.

The media swarmed to the story after family members shared Gwen Goring’s situation on Facebook.

The 83-year-old had been targeted by a warden after sitting in a children’s play area on French’s Avenue – where no dogs were allowed – with a small Bichon Frise on Tuesday, August 11, as reported here.

Despite offering her apologies and the fact that no-one else was in the area at the time, the pensioner was stunned to be issued with a fine.

Mrs Goring, who had only recently came out of hospital, initially paid £30 but refused to pay more when a council letter arrived demanding another £50.

Speaking today, she told the Gazette of her relief at the cancellation of the fine.

She said: “I heard it on the radio and then someone phoned me from the station to say that the council were cancelling the fine.

“I thought, thank goodness! I am very relieved. It’s been awful over the whole weekend thinking about it.

“But I couldn’t give in. There were so many supporters out there and I would still have refused to pay it.”

The story was covered by regional and national outlets, and even inspired an online petition on Change.org demanding for the fine to be cancelled.

A Central Beds spokesman described the “overwhelming” support they had received from the public when introducing the no-dog zones to children’s play areas.

He said: “However, where there are mitigating circumstances we will of course consider them on a case-by-case basis. And in this instance, in view of Mrs Goring’s health issues, we have decided to rescind the fine.

“We will also be contacting the town council to advise them that the provision of benches in this area has been highlighted by this particular case.”