Owner hits out at the actions of dog warden

Samantha Lee of Cleveland Road at North Shields with her dog Bambi-she was followed by a Dog Warden.'REF 1711140829
Samantha Lee of Cleveland Road at North Shields with her dog Bambi-she was followed by a Dog Warden.'REF 1711140829

A dog owner has questioned the professionalism of council staff after she claimed was intimidated for more than two hours while walking her dog.

Samantha Lee had been out walking her chihuahua in North Shields when she said was followed by an environmental officer at North Tyneside Council for more than two hours and six miles.

The officer followed her to Tynemouth, where he waited for her while she took refuge in a coffee shop, before following her on the Metro as she went home, stopping to make a complaint at North Shields police station.

The incident had started after her dog looked to relieve itself in the street – Mrs Lee taking out a bag to clean up after it – only for it to be a false alarm.

But the officer claimed she had not cleaned up after her dog and issued a £50 fine.

Now Mrs Lee is raising concerns at the action of the official and questioned why no officer carries a camera for evidence.

She said: “He didn’t give me a chance to explain my point of view but was aggressive and shouting at me.

“He showed me no identification or told me who he was. I wasn’t going to give my details to a stranger.

“In hindsight I should have asked to see some identification but I didn’t expect a council employee to come after me.”

A spokesperson for North Tyneside Council said: “Residents have told us that dog fouling is among top priorities they want the council to address.

“It not only impacts on how law abiding residents and their children can enjoy our borough, but can also cause serious health problems.

“Street cleansing, including the removal of dog mess, costs the council approximately £3.5m a year – money which could be better spent elsewhere.

“Dog owners must take responsibility.

“Our dog wardens are there for when this doesn’t happen and they have clear procedures, which were followed in this instance.

“The warden, who was wearing the correct identification badge, politely asked Ms Lee to pick up the mess after her dog.

“When she refused to do so and became abusive, the police were called and asked the warden to remain with Ms Lee until their arrival. The police stayed in regular contact with our officers.

“When the dog fouled for a second time, Ms Lee again failed to pick up after it.

“Both Ms Lee and the council officers attended North Shields police station, where Ms Lee was spoken to by the police and her details passed on to the council in order for a fixed-penalty notice to be issued.”

A police spokesperson said: “Officers received complaints from both parties on a dispute over dog fouling. Advice was passed but this is a matter for the council.”