Tredegar man fined £75 for dog mess – even though dog was not his

FINED: Craig Harper with his father Andrew Mumford and Lucy the dog

FINED: Craig Harper with his father Andrew Mumford and Lucy the dog

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

A MAN was hit with a £75 fine for not cleaning up dog mess, despite the animal not belonging to him.

Craig Harper, 20, of Heather Close, Tredegar, appeared at Newport Crown Court to appeal against a conviction of failing to clean up dog faeces while in charge of the dog.

Mr Harper told the court the dog was his parents’ and he was visiting their house at the time of the offence to pick up post when he was visited by an enforcement officer working for Blaenau Gwent council.

But judge Niclas Parry ruled the conviction was right, despite the dog belonging to Mr Harper’s parents, because, he said, Mr Harper was in charge of the dog at the time.

In October 2011, Blaenau Gwent council teamed up with private company XFOR to hand out fines to people for dog fouling and dropping litter.

Mr Harper lives with his grandmother in Beaufort Road, Tredegar, but his postal address is at his parents’ house in Heather Close.

On August 16, 2011, Mr Harper went to his parents’ house to pick up post.

When he arrived, the gate was open and his parents’ black and white terrier dog Lucy, which they have had for around ten years, had got out.

Council enforcement officer Mark Cochrane spotted the dog fouling nearby at Ysguborwen, and followed her back to Heather Close.

Mr Cochrane said Mr Harper claimed the dog belonged to his parents but told him he had seen the dog fouling and it hadn’t been picked up.

He wrote a fixed penalty notice in Mr Harper’s name and posted it through the door.

Mr Harper’s father, Andrew Mumford, said he wrote to Abergavenny Magistrates’ Court claiming responsibility for the dog and had not realised Mr Harper had to attend a hearing at the court on March 19.

Mr Harper was convicted in his absence and fined £350, ordered to pay £150 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Judge Parry ruled the conviction applied but reduced the fine to £75 but kept prosecution costs at £150 and the victim surcharge at £15.

He said: "I suggest you use the money you save to buy a kennel with a lock."

Owner tells of anger at decision

Speaking after the case, Mr Mumford said he was angry with the decision.

"Craig was never even given the chance to go and pick the mess up. It’s not his dog. We were fully prepared to take responsibility. I’ve had two more fixed penalty notices within five minutes of each other since this. I just feel we’re an easy target now."

Comments (7)

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7:23pm Mon 17 Sep 12

digispamman says...

i would be more in favour of real irresponsible dog owners being made to eat the mess their animals leave behind, then put in the stocks for a day, then publicly birched!
i would be more in favour of real irresponsible dog owners being made to eat the mess their animals leave behind, then put in the stocks for a day, then publicly birched! digispamman
  • Score: 0

7:37pm Mon 17 Sep 12

rgh says...

Good! Should have rubbed his face in it!
Good! Should have rubbed his face in it! rgh
  • Score: 0

9:56pm Mon 17 Sep 12

PontyPeter says...

I don't know why he appealed. (or was allowed/advised to.)
The person in charge of the dog at the time it poops is the person legally responsible. There are no mitigating circumstances. No exceptions.
I don't know why he appealed. (or was allowed/advised to.) The person in charge of the dog at the time it poops is the person legally responsible. There are no mitigating circumstances. No exceptions. PontyPeter
  • Score: 0

9:30am Tue 18 Sep 12

utherpd says...

I pick my dogs crap up-and other peoples dog mess up just to stop my toddler walking in it. Where are they on ringland circle??That dog field is full of dog poop and its very rare you see someone pick there dogs mess up! Even the other day someones dog had crapped right by bin and it hadnt been picked up. I am sick of this issue, it drives me crazy. Irresponsible dog owners should have there dog removed from them if they are failing in this basic step of animal care. Then made to walk in the town centre with a sign of shame around there neck.
I pick my dogs crap up-and other peoples dog mess up just to stop my toddler walking in it. Where are they on ringland circle??That dog field is full of dog poop and its very rare you see someone pick there dogs mess up! Even the other day someones dog had crapped right by bin and it hadnt been picked up. I am sick of this issue, it drives me crazy. Irresponsible dog owners should have there dog removed from them if they are failing in this basic step of animal care. Then made to walk in the town centre with a sign of shame around there neck. utherpd
  • Score: 0

2:44pm Tue 18 Sep 12

youngashie says...

what i find confusing in this case is that mr harper was given a fifteen pounds victim surcharge ? for what who was the victim
what i find confusing in this case is that mr harper was given a fifteen pounds victim surcharge ? for what who was the victim youngashie
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Tue 18 Sep 12

edward jeff says...

I am fed up of seeing the stuff every where they should make the fine a lot more .the council should get tough on Irresponsible dog owners make the fine £200 on the spot fine this will make them think twice in leaving it .
I am fed up of seeing the stuff every where they should make the fine a lot more .the council should get tough on Irresponsible dog owners make the fine £200 on the spot fine this will make them think twice in leaving it . edward jeff
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Tue 18 Sep 12

Limestonecowboy says...

The Enforc. Officer witnessed the dog fouling & located the address there is no dispute over this. Why didn't Mr Harpers father, owning up as the dogs owner, give/refund the original penalty notice sum to his son? then there would be no need to appeal & incur additional costs (it would then of been in the £10's not £100's).
The Enforc. Officer witnessed the dog fouling & located the address there is no dispute over this. Why didn't Mr Harpers father, owning up as the dogs owner, give/refund the original penalty notice sum to his son? then there would be no need to appeal & incur additional costs (it would then of been in the £10's not £100's). Limestonecowboy
  • Score: 0

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