A dog owner from Ottery St Mary has been slapped with a fine for allowing his pet to persistently stray.
East Devon District Council’s Environmental Health team secured the successful prosecution of Joe Daly, of Chapel Lane, Ottery St Mary, for allowing his dog, Hardy, to regularly roam.
Daly was fined £220 and ordered to pay £400 costs by Exeter magistrates for letting fox terrier Hardy stray in the town; the dog regularly escaped the garden and was brought home by people living locally.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) said Daly had initially been issued with a fixed penalty notice for £80, but ignored several reminders to pay, resulting in enforcement action.
An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said: “Mr Daly lives in Chapel Lane and Hardy had been able to escape from the garden for several months.
“Many local people had seen Hardy around and had often returned him home.
“Mr Daly had received advice from both the council and the neighbourhood policing team on several occasions.
“In January 2019 Hardy escaped and ran up to two other dogs and tried to mate with them.
“Their owners intervened and one was bitten. Several people were involved and they returned Hardy to his garden.
“Since that time Hardy has escaped again.
“It appeared that Mr Daly had not taken any action to prevent this happening and the dog was a risk to itself and also other people in the area.”
The spokeswoman added: “East Devon District Council’s Environmental Health team has successfully prosecuted a dog owner who persistently let his dog stray in Ottery St Mary.
“The prosecution was necessary because the dog owner failed to pay his fixed penalty notice.
“Anyone who does not pay a fixed penalty is likely to have action taken against them in the Magistrates’ Court.”
The district council said there are a number of dog controls within East Devon, called Public Spaces Protection Orders.
The orders state owners must pick up after their dogs and comply with dog ban area rules; the orders also require owners to keep their dogs on a lead on roads and pavements.
This requirement is intended to prevent straying and encourage dog owners to keep their dogs safe and under control when away from home, EDDC said.
Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC portfolio holder for environment, said: “Officers from our Environmental Health team have worked hard over the last few years spreading the message about the importance of being a responsible dog owner.
“This is not just best for dogs, it is best for people living within our communities who do not want to be put at risk by other people’s dogs.
“We have a commitment to act on any information received about breaches of the public spaces protection orders, and will issue fixed penalty notices in all cases where reliable evidence has been received.
“Fixed penalties are issued for littering and fly tipping as well as for dog related offences, and the council will pursue any non-payment through the courts.”