Dog owner ordered to pay £550 after taking case to court

A DOG owner ended up having to pay more than £500 for walking his three pets without a lead after opting to take the case to court.

Simon McKenzie, 43, of Amherst Road, was originally issued with a fixed penalty notice of £75 by a council street warden.

If he paid it within 10 days it would have been reduced to £50.

It rises to £75 if paid within 14 days.

Instead he opted to plead not guilty by post at the first hearing on February 5.

The matter was then sent for trial on April 29.

But he failed to appear in court and magistrates were told the full facts.

Magistrates were told that the original offence occurred on October 21 in Linton Road.

McKenzie had no reasaonable excuse for walking his dogs without a lead contrary to the Dogs of Leads(Borough of Hastings) Order 2008.

He was proven guilty in his absence and fined £75 with £458 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

The council’s head of environment services Mike Hepworth said: “We take dog control issues very seriously. The safety of residents and visitors is very important to us and this prosecution will act as a deterrent to other dog owners. Our Street Warden gave her evidence clearly and concisely and was commended in court for being a very credible witness.”

The Dogs on Leads by Direction Order is designed to be used when a dog is not under proper control and needs to be put on a lead. It requires the person in control of a dog to put and keep it on a lead when told to do so by an authorised officer of the council or Sussex Police. The order applies to all land within the borough where there is public access. An authorised officer may only give a direction under this order if, in their opinion, a dog is not under proper control and is likely to cause a nuisance or disturbance to other people or wildlife.