St Leonards mum ‘shaken’ after fine for leaving dog off lead

Michaella Burton and Mickey Burton with dog Buddy in Grosvenor Gardens, St Leonards
Michaella Burton and Mickey Burton with dog Buddy in Grosvenor Gardens, St Leonards

A St Leonards mum was left ‘shaken and upset’ after being fined £100 for leaving her dog off its lead.

Michaella Burton, 28, took her 18-month-old son Mickey and miniature Schnauzer Buddy out for some fresh air in Grosvenor Gardens, St Leonards.

While in the park, a woman approached her and asked her whether she knew dogs should be on a lead.

Michaella said she was not aware of the rule and had walked her dog there for many years.

She had often used the area before moving away in 2017.

She said she put Buddy back on the lead before the woman issued her with a £100 on-the-spot fine.

Her mother Sue Mitchell said: “Instead of giving her a warning, the lady then went on to read her her rights and say she was fined £100.

“My daughter was shaking and so upset. Not only was this a completely innocent mistake but £100 is a crazy amount.

“We looked up this law and, yes, the rules came in after my daughter had moved, she just didn’t know about it.

“On the website it says ‘if there is a reasonable reason why, then the fixed penalty need not be given’.

“We are so upset because £100 is a crazy amount to pay for a young mum anyway, but this was not a dangerous dog. She is a mum of a lovely 18-month-old and a very respectful person.

“Surely she should have just been given a warning.”

Sue said her daughter decided to pay the fine because she was worried but felt the rule needed to be ‘fought on principle’.

A spokesman for Hastings Borough Council said: “The area of Grosvenor Gardens is covered by Public Space Protection Orders that have been in place since June 2017, after much public consultation.

“The area has signs advising as such. Hastings Borough Council takes a strong enforcement line and issues with dogs are usually one of the highest in regards to complaints.”

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