Landscape gardener fined £750 for dog off lead in Caldecott Park

He was given a suspended sentence
He was given a suspended sentence

A landscape gardener who allowed his dog to run into Caldecott Park off its lead while he worked at a nearby property has been ordered to pay nearly £750.

Eric Barker was working at a property in Park Walk on January 12 when his dog was spotted off its lead by Caldecott Park’s ranger.

The ranger looked for the dog’s owner and saw Mr Barker’s white van parked in the alley next to the park.

When he approached Barker, who was working in a nearby garden, the landscape gardener confirmed the dog - a Yorkshire Terrier Maltese cross - was his.

The ranger explained a dog control order required dogs to be kept on a lead in the park - and owners who flouted the order risked a £80 fixed penalty notice.

But the following day the ranger again spotted the dog off its lead in the park - and when he approached Barker to remind him about keeping the dog on a lead, he became abusive.

The ranger contacted the council’s environmental enforcement wardens and dog warden, who told Barker he was being issued with a fixed penalty notice for breaching the dog control order.

But Barker refused to give his details - despite his name and contact numbers being displayed on his work van - or accept the fixed penalty notice, and walked back into the garden where he was working.

The wardens noted the contact details on Barker’s van and were able to confirm his address from his business website.

But at a hearing at Nuneaton Justice Centre on August 24, Barker, of Oxendon Way, Binley, Coventry, denied breaching the dog control order.

Representing himself in court, the 67-year-old accused the council’s witnesses of “concocting” evidence and claimed the case was a “conspiracy” - prompting magistrates to warn him he risked being in contempt of court.

Barker added the dog had remained in the garden while he was working, only leaving briefly when the gate was left open by a leaflet distributor.

But magistrates found him guilty of breaching the dog control order, fining him £100. Barker was also ordered to pay £627 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for sustainable environment, said: “Dog control orders form part of the council’s on-going campaign to encourage responsible dog ownership.

“We work to support and educate owners, offering a free microchipping service and running a volunteer dog warden scheme.

“However, we’re also prepared to enforce our dog control orders to keep our parks, green spaces and cemeteries safe and free from dog fouling.”

For more information on the council’s dog control orders, visit www.rugby.gov.uk/dogcontrol