A pensioner taking his beloved dog for a final walk along the beach before being put to sleep, was shocked to be handed a £100 fine by an over-zealous council warden when the pooch fell out of his pet stroller.
Frank Ward, 73, had taken his Old English Sheepdog Henry, ten, for a stroll along his favourite beach at Cleveleys, near Blackpool on May 25 having travelled all the way from his home in Doncaster.
Mr Ward, who was joined by his former partner Sue Brown, 58, from Manchester, was carrying Henry in a pet stroller as the dog suffered arthritis in his front legs and had a hip displacement, leaving him unable to enjoy longer walks.
But when the pet stroller hit a sand dune, it tipped over sending poor Henry tumbling on to the sand. Just moments later a council worker ‘appeared from nowhere’ and gave the OAP a fixed penalty charge notice for £100.
Frank Ward (left with Henry), 73, had taken his Old English Sheepdog Henry, ten, for a stroll along his favourite beach at Cleveleys, near Blackpool on May 25. He carried Henry in a pet stroller as the dog has arthritis and a hip displacement
Mr Ward took Henry to the beach as he used to go there as a pup and it was his favourite walk. Henry is pictured on the beach in happier times
Recalling the walk, Mr Ward said: ‘We decided we’d do one more walk and have him put down. We knew it was going to be his last walk.
‘I took him down the ramp on his pushchair and I pushed him towards the sea, but we hit a sand bank and he fell out. He didn’t walk. He can’t do that anymore.
‘There were never plans to take him out of the stroller because he can’t move. [The warden] jumped out on me immediately. I’ve no idea where he appeared from.’
Dogs are banned on the sands at Cleveleys between May 1 and September 30. But despite Henry having clearly been in his stroller until the fall, a council enforcement officer nipped out to issue a ticket as soon as his paws touched the sand.
Mr Ward continued: ‘He said ‘I am so and so’. I told him he’d fallen out of the pushchair and it was obvious he couldn’t walk. But you can’t argue with them. They handed me a ticket for £100.’
Mr Ward claims a council worked ‘appeared out of nowhere’ after Henry was sent tumbling onto the sand having fallen out of his pet stroller. The 73-year-old was handed a fixed penalty notice of £100 (left). Despite an appeal from his friend and former partner Sue Brown, the council did not back down (right)
Mr Ward purchased a dog stroller two years ago so he could take Henry on walks but when the dog’s condition deteriorated in May, he became unable to stand and started wetting himself.
He decided to take the pooch for a last trip to the beach as he used to go there as a pup and it was his favourite walk. He and his former partner Ms Brown remained firm friends and would often walk Henry together.
But the final walk left them upset. Ms Brown wrote to Wyre Council, which oversees fines on that stretch of beach, to contest the fine, but was told it would stand.
She even sent a copy of Henry’s cremation certificate as the dog had been sent to his final resting place three days later.
The council said as a goodwill gesture it would extend the amount of time the pensioner had to pay the ticket by two-and-a-half months until August.
But a council official said in response: ‘I do sympathise with the situation Mr Ward has gone through.
‘However we have to follow the law of the exclusion zone in which an offence was committed and in order to be fair and consistent the grounds of appeal has to be rejected.’
Mr Ward added: ‘I’m retired, a pensioner. It’s a lot of money to me. I haven’t paid it yet.’
Ms Brown said the ticket was unfair as the dog was in a stroller.
Ms Brown, 58, wrote to Wyre Council (left and right) to ask them withdraw the fine. She said that Mr Ward was left ‘heartbroken’ following the putting down of his dog
Ms Brown sent the local authority a photograph of Henry’s cremation certificate, in the hope it would encourage them to remove the fine
She said: ‘I emailed them and explained the situation. I sent a picture to them of Henry in his pushchair and a picture of him on the beach.
‘All he did was sit there and look at the sea. He never used to cause a nuisance and then I sent a picture of his cremation certificate to the council.
‘I have it all on email and they just emailed me back and said they were sorry but they couldn’t bend the rules in any case.
‘An offence had been committed, but as a bit of leeway they’d give us until August to pay.’
She added: ‘Henry loved going on the beach. We’ve had to go away because Frank is that upset.
‘I just think they should have shown a bit of compassion. I know rules are rules – fair enough – but the beach was empty and there were two horses galloping along.
‘I understand about dog fouling and I’m totally behind them on that, it’s disgusting.
‘But we always pick up after him and it was just one last visit to the beach before he was put to sleep.’
Last night, the council agreed to waive the fine. A spokeswoman said the council was ‘aware of the sad circumstances surround the health and subsequent death of Mr Ward’s dog’. Mr Ward is pictured left watching television with Henry (also pictured right)
During the dog ban period between May 1 and September 30 dogs are banned from both Rossall Beach or Anchorsholme beach.
On-the-spot fixed penalty notices are issued by authorised enforcement officers of Wyre Council, and failure to pay can result in prosecution and a criminal conviction.
Councillor Rita Amos, councillor for the Cleveleys Park ward of Wyre Council said: ‘I know it sounds harsh, but you have to air on the side of caution.
‘If the dog was that ill, maybe it should have been strapped in like a person would have been. Rules are rules, unfortunately. I wouldn’t want to bend them myself.’
Last night the council agreed to waive the fine.
A spokeswoman said: ‘We are aware of the sad circumstances surrounding the health and subsequent death of Mr Ward’s dog and we pass on our sincere condolences.
‘On review of the case, the ticket has been cancelled and no further action will be taken.’