Mum slams ‘heavy-handed’ dog wardens

Conor Moyley with his grandfather's dog Zaharus
Conor Moyley with his grandfather's dog Zaharus

A Peterhead teenager has been left traumatised after dog wardens ‘swooped out of nowhere’ and accosted him over failing to pick up after his pet dog.

Conor Moyley (14), had been walking his grandfather’s dog Zaharus - a former guide dog - on the town’s Gadle Braes last Tuesday night when the incident happened. Conor’s mum Cindy said that he had arrived home from school at 3.30pm and had gone to his grandma’s house in Ives Road.

“I had asked him if he would quickly take the dog out and he said he would,” explained Cindy.

Cindy said that, according to Conor, Zaharus had done his business at Gadle Braes and he was going to head back for a poo bag when the dog wardens descended upon him.

“Conor said they shouted at him, but he didn’t think they were speaking to him initially, but they continued to shout at him and demanded that he pick up the mess,” she said.

“He said he tried to tell them that he was going back home for a bag, but they didn’t listen and threatened to fine him if he didn’t pick it up. He was absolutely terrified,” she said.

“I had gone out to the car for something when I saw him coming along the road followed by two women.

“I saw the look on Conor’s face and he seemed really frightened and he just shrugged his shoulders.

“Initially I thought the women were from Guide Dogs for the Blind checking up on Zaharus, but they said they were from Aberdeenshire Council.

“Things escalated from there and my mum said that one of the women threw a bag in Conor’s face and told him to go and pick up the dog mess right that minute.”

Cindy said she could not believe how heavy-handed the women were and she said their attitude was absolutely terrible. “He’s a 14-year-old boy and he was scared out of his wits by the whole incident - would they have been as quick to jump on a grown man?

“There are plenty of folk who walk along Gadle Braes and allow their dogs to poo and never pick it up, but we always do, and always have done.

“One of the women said that if Conor was mature and adult enough to walk a dog then he should be mature and adult enough to pick up the mess.

“They left saying that on this occasion they wouldn’t fine him. I just can’t believe how they could treat a young lad like this.”

A spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “Dog waste is a significant concern across Aberdeenshire and we receive regular requests to take action. As such, our dog wardens have a duty to challenge those who fail to clear up after their pets.

“The wardens aim to be firm but fair when issuing penalties, and when dealing with people between the age of 10 and 17 years can exercise discretion as to whether to issue a fixed penalty notice or simply a warning.

“We appreciate that people may not welcome receiving a warning or a penalty notice, but ultimately the aim is to encourage responsible behaviour in all our communities.

“We have investigated the circumstances of this particular complaint and will be responding directly.”