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Dog walker handed hefty legal bill after failing to pay fixed penalty

A RUGBY woman faces a legal bill for a "very expensive dog walk" after failing to keep her Chihuahuas on a lead in a town cemetery.

Georgina Clarke was walking her dogs in Clifton Road cemetery in October when she was spotted by Rugby Borough Council environmental enforcement wardens on a routine patrol.

One of the Chihuahuas ran towards the wardens, barking, and Clarke shouted at the dog.

When the wardens approached her she apologised and, when asked, confirmed both dogs belonged to her.

One of the wardens explained to Clarke the borough's dog control orders meant it was an offence to fail to keep dogs on leads in cemeteries and on public roads.

He then issued her with an £80 fixed penalty notice and Clarke gave her home address as a property in Cambridge Street.

But after she failed to pay the fine a letter was sent to the address she had given the warden. On receiving no reply, the wardens checked the council's records and discovered the address she had given was different to the address in Cambridge Street registered at the Town Hall.

After failing to pay the fixed penalty, Clarke's case was heard at Nuneaton's Warwickshire Justice Centre on Tuesday (4 April).

She was found guilty in her absence of breaching a dog control order and was fined £80.

The 38-year-old was also ordered to pay £361 costs and a £30 victim surcharge, leading a magistrate to comment: "It was a very expensive dog walk."

Speaking after the hearing, Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for environment and public realm, said: "The borough's dog control orders form part of the council's on-going campaign to encourage responsible dog ownership.

"Rugby's parks, cemeteries and green spaces should be a safe environment for our residents, and dog owners who fail to comply with our dog control orders rightly run the risk of a fine."

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