83 Year Old Lady Fined For Having Her Dog in A Playground

This story emerged on Friday this week. It concerns a lady of 83 walking her dog around a park, getting short of breath and needing to sit down for a rest. A dog warden, employed by, and enforcing rules laid down by Central Bedfordshire Council, saw her, apparently told her she could sit there for 5 minutes but nevertheless slapped her with a £50 fine, and if not paid in so many days time, the fine escalates to £80.

The park in question is in French's Avenue, Dunstable. It's a playing field with one goalpost strategically set so that 2 kick arounds can go either side simultaneously. A cinder track goes around the grass, and 5 adult play features are scattered around it to encourage people to exercise. In one corner of the playing field is a children's play area that has railing all around it. The playing field has no seats in it, although there is a backless bench and a bench with a back inside the children's play area.

Cllr Budge Wells was asked to speak on behalf of the Council on the JVS show.
Listen Again to the show from 1:04 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02xxftw

Well, clearly the dog should have been tied up on the railings OUTSIDE the play area before the lady went to sit down INSIDE the play area. But at some times ones health is the most pressing need. And the need to rest was clearly uppermost in her mind. The dog warden ought to have had more consideration for the lady's welfare. She's hardly going to be a out and out trouble maker at her age, that needs to be told to toe the line.The correct approach should have been for the dog warden to take the dog out, tie it up outside while the lady rested. And then remind her of the signs when she left.

2. People need to write in to Dunstable Town Council and request that a seat or seats are placed around the cinder track. Judging by the amount of new housing in the immediate area, there should be a little bit of S106 money in a pot somewhere.  Here's the email address: info@dunstable.gov.uk

3. For the stress the lady has been put to, she should be treated to a dinner out, or at least a bunch of flowers.

17/8/2015 UPDATEFINE CANCELLED: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02ygjm6 and skip to 2:30
18/8/2015 UPDATE: I have received an email from Dunstable Town Council that states, "Alan,
Thank you for your email to David Ashlee ... I can confirm that the Town Council will be placing benches in the Frenchs Avenue Public Open Space  as part of a wider initiative to renew and replace park furniture across a number of sites in the coming months." Grounds and Environmental Services, Dunstable Town Council