A dog fur fine has United Kingdom dog lovers in a tizzy. A 46-year-old dog owner named Tracey Hayes was fined £50 (roughly $75) for littering after brushing out her dogs’ hair in Harrow Lodge Park in Essex on Wednesday.
Most litterbug cases don’t arouse much public sympathy. But judging from multiple media stories and online comments on the dog fur fine, this one has struck a nerve.
The incident was reported Thursday in local newspaper Romford Recorder, where the indignant Hayes had a great deal to say about the dog fur fine.
She brushed out a German shepherd and then a golden retriever, apparently leaving a great deal of hair behind — which she said that she always left for the birds to use in building nests.
I will not guess how many nests get built in July or how frequently she has left the clumps of dog fur on the park’s grounds before.
But if I had to put money on it, I’d say that Hayes must be a repeat offender.
As she went to drive away with the clumps of hair still on the ground, two officers approached her and issued the fine. She said that one of them even blocked her car door to stop her from getting back out again.
Of course, she was only going to get out and clean up the mess, right? It’s only America when angry people getting tickets do something stupid like try to jump up and hit an officer?
Be that as it may, she thinks she was cited to raise funds:
“I was shocked; I have owned dogs for over 10 years and have never heard of such a law.
“What has disappointed most was he was going to give me that fine no matter what, even though I offered to clear it up.
“Obviously it was about the money, not the environment.”
She said that the officers then took off without themselves cleaning up the hair. Well, yeah. They’re not your mother, as the anti-littering signs say in Mississippi. You can pick up after yourself.
Metro UK published a statement from local official Andrew Curtin:
“Responsible dog owners groom their pets at home or in their garden, not in public spaces, and especially not in our parks.
“Littering anywhere in the borough incurs a fine, whether it’s a single cigarette butt or clumps of dog hairs…”
Other media sources on the dog fur fine story said much the same thing.
Now let’s get real. Not everybody who combs out their dog in the park is getting fined, or this wouldn’t be news.
My guess — and admittedly it’s just a guess — is that she’s done it before, and locals are tired of her using their park to groom her dogs.
She doesn’t want the dog hairs for her own backyard birds bad enough to brush them out in her own yard.
Am I wrong? I wouldn’t have bothered to call the cops on the lady unless I owned a dog grooming shop myself. But if somebody dropped a dime on a litterbug, I’m not gonna shed too many tears.
Am I all wet on this? Feel free to comment if you’ve got a different opinion. What’s your take on the dog fur fine?