An elderly woman from Dunstable has been fined £80 by the council for taking a small Bichon Frise dog into a park.
Gwen Goring, 83, had only recently came out of hospital with a broken arm, when she decided to take her dog to the recreation park at French’s Avenue for a walk on Tuesday.
Mrs Goring said: “I’ve not been long out of hospital and it was the first time I’ve took the dog out since.
“I took him in the park, and there was no-one in there. I said to my friend who was with me, ‘I really need to sit down’ and sat for five minutes.”
The park has an enclosed children’s play area with seats. The play area has two entrances, one displays a sign saying no dogs are allowed, while the other does not.
Mrs Goring said that it was empty as she went to sit down.
She said: “This woman came up, quite nasty, and said to me ‘you’re not supposed to have a dog in here, that’s what it says’, and she fined me.
“I couldn’t believe it. She could have gave me a warning. It was very unreasonable.”
Mrs Goring, who also suffers from asthma, paid £30 to the council believing it was the amount owed, and received a letter asking for more money.
She said: “I sent off a cheque to the woman that fined me. I sent off £30 and they say that’s wrong and I’ve to pay another £50.
“They said if I didn’t do that, they’d fine me another £80. That’s a huge chunk of my pension.”
Now, Mrs Goring is making a stand on principle.
She said: “I’m not going to pay it. There’s teenagers running riot with motorbikes and nothing happens to them. It’s disgusting”
A spokesman for Central Bedfordshire Council defended their position.
He said: “Ms Goring was fined for taking her dog into an enclosed children’s play area.
“There is signage clearly stating this is not allowed and at the time she agreed to pay a fine of £80 – which will be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.
“There was clear support for banning dogs from enclosed children’s play areas when we consulted the public before introducing the dog control orders last year.”
He later added: “We have listened to the concerns that have been raised and are looking into the matter. We will provide more details as soon as we can.”
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