LETTER: Car parking and fouling

There seems to me to be one point that Susan Angel should be able to expect CP Plus to clarify and thus settle her liability one way or the other.

It’s possible she parked twice that day in the Montague Centre car park, once for 50p worth and once for £2 worth, but forgot to pay for £2 worth. If so, CP Plus should be able to produce the evidence.

If she parked only once, and CP Plus’ computer somehow debited her bank account for 50p rather than the £2 she admits having expected to be charged, surely it’s up to CP Plus to debit her account with or ask her to pay the outstanding £1.50, not fine her for failing to remedy their mistake for which the remedy was in any case firmly in their hands.

If, on the other hand, they produce incontestable evidence that she had in fact parked twice that day, she would be between a rock and a hard place...

Having said that, and contrary to received wisdom, I’ve had a couple of occasions of being unable to pay at this car park – on account of there having been a long queue when only one of the two machines was working – and had CP Plus accept my prompt explanation and plea, made the same day, of not guilty.

On the subject of dog fouling, it seems that in the eyes of some you can no more be allowed to challenge the establishment here than in any of the standard pariah states.

You reported Mr Churchill as saying how he’d written to the council, explaining his actions and how he considered his offence should have been a discretionary matter, only to learn that a dog warden has no discretion in the matter.

In their website’s ‘Information on dog fouling’, Worthing Borough Council informs us how ‘Dog Wardens regularly patrol Adur and Worthing and any member of the public witnessing dog owners who are blatantly ignoring their responsibility to clear away their dog’s waste is encouraged to notify them in confidence’.

Fair enough, apart from adding, ambiguously, how ‘Failure to do so may result in a fine or prosecution’. Does that mean fining the unforthcoming informer?

Still, what does the law, Worthing PSPO 2016 number 4, say? “If a dog defecates at any time on land to which this Order applies and a person who is in charge of the dog at that time fails to remove the faeces from the land forthwith, that person shall be guilty of an offence,” (part 1.(1)). It adds: “Being unaware of the defecation (whether by reason of not being in the vicinity or otherwise), or not having a device for or other suitable means of removing the faeces shall not be a reasonable excuse for failing to remove the faeces,” (part 1.(3)(c)).

It is just possible that the warden in question, having been confidentially informed by a member of the public that Mr Churchill had a habit of ‘blatantly ignoring’ his responsibility in this respect, decided to investigate and duly observed Mr Churchill doing just that. Fine, I would say; and that’s literally what the warden thought as well.

But I have the impression that the warden just happened to be around when he observed Mr Churchill’s failure to see his dog poo. His dog, who had been following him, had felt the call of nature whilst Mr Churchill’s mind had been momentarily elsewhere. Does that amount to ‘blatantly ignoring’? And did he not ‘forthwith’ rectify his omission when informed of it by the warden?

Did anyone have any evidence that he did so simply because he was being confronted by ‘the law’, and that he would have been utterly indifferent to being informed by anyone else?

But this wouldn’t have happened if he’d had the dog on a lead. No, but the whole idea of open spaces such as the Sanctuary or Cissbury Ring is for owners to be able to let their dogs run free (as distinct from wild). Let’s have a bit of reality.

The conclusion seems to be that such considerations are immaterial.

What sort of patronising, fundamentalist, bureaucratic cretinism is that?

To err may be human, but so are the authorities it would seem in our modern egalitarian world; human beings just like us; no longer the Lord’s divine anointed, but tasked nevertheless with keeping us all on the straight and narrow; and don’t some of them just love it.

David Weale

White House Place

Worthing