Keith and Joy Ford of Fleet Lane, Chickerell, are asking for an apology after receiving a letter from the dog warden.
The couple, who are in their 80s, have been accused of allowing two chocolate Labradors to behave aggressively towards another dog last month.
The letter claims that dogs belonging to the Fords put another dog at risk of being hurt, and warns that they could be served with a community protection notice under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act.
Well, it’s about time the owners of savage beasts are brought to just…
Oh! Hang on….
According to Mr Ford, the couple have not owned a dog since their beloved Spaniel Corgi-cross, Sally, was put to sleep in 1983.
The couple say they tried to phone the council to find out why the letter was issued but were unable to get a response.
There’s a surprise!
Of course, now it’s hit the papers, the council’s crack team of damage limitation experts are in operational mode:
Councillor Alan Thacker, West Dorset District Council’s portfolio holder for Community Safety and Access, said: “The safety of the community is our top priority. The dog wardens are a small team covering a large area across North Dorset, Weymouth and Portland and West Dorset. They diligently follow up any complaints from members of the public that imply any threat to public safety. They make no judgement on the enquiry itself and – as the letter clearly states – if the recipient of the letter feels this has been issued incorrectly, they can get in touch with us. All letters are issued confidentially.
They did try to get in touch with you. They couldn’t.
“We receive dozens of enquiries a week so visiting in person is not a valuable use of the dog wardens’ time or the public’s money.
We will call the recipient of the letter…
You’ll call them now, but only because they have shown everyone what sort of slapdash ‘service’ their taxes pay for! If the warden had called them before issuing the letter, the council wouldn’t now have egg on its face.
…to explain the process. We can only apologise if the recipient was issued the letter incorrectly; we can only go on the information that is given to us from the complainant.”
So there are no checks? The warden just issues a letter and ticks a box marked ‘job done’?
The council also pointed out that the dog warden service is not statutory, citing recent praise from the RSPCA Senior Parliamentary Advisor that commends the dog warden team for being “an absolute model of best practice“.
Well, given the reputation of the RSPCA, that tells you all you need to know.