Waltham Forest Council backtracks after issuing a fixed penalty notice for a 'missing cat' poster

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Lynda Dyson with her cat Fluffy Lynda Dyson with her cat Fluffy

THE council has U-turned after a resident complained about being issued a fixed-penalty notice for putting up a missing cat poster.

After Lynda Dyson, of Avon Road, Walthamstow, was issued with a £75 notice last week for putting up a poster about her missing cat, Fluffy, the Guardian has learned that she will not have to pay the fine.

A Waltham Forest Council spokesman said: "This fixed penalty notice was cancelled as soon as we realised it had been issued in error.

"In this case a mistake was made and we would like to apologise unreservedly to Ms Dyson for any offence or alarm that was caused."

Ms Dyson said: “I am really happy that the council has seen sense because it is a rational response, so I am really pleased.”

The council, which is running a campaign to clamp down on environmental crime, issued the fix-penalty notice to Ms Dyson under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act for fly-posting.

Click here to follow the Waltham Forest Guardian on Twitter

Comments (27)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:40pm Mon 8 Feb 10

newyear says...

What was the mistake? As a cat-lover, I'm delighted Fluffy has been reunited with Ms Dyson but, prima facie, it would appear that her actions may have contravened numerous pieces of legislation, including: The Town and Country Planning Act, Highways Act, Anti-Social Behaviour Act. Local Government Act, and
Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. As well as being cat-locer, I'm also a tree-lover (though not -hugger!), and I'm appalled at the amount of fly-posting on our fine old street trees. Not only is it unsightly and potentially distracting to drivers but when it is affixed with drawing pins (as it often is) these can rust and damage the tree. My heart goes out to those who've lost pets (I'm sure we've all seen the missing parrot ones around the borough recently) but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Rather like the farrago in Walthamstow Town Square this weekend, we need to come to a consensus as a society about which laws and by-laws we're willing to enforce and if we're not, repeal them. With missing pets perhaps the Council should set up a page on its own website where anxious owners can post details rather than risk damaging our environment.
What was the mistake? As a cat-lover, I'm delighted Fluffy has been reunited with Ms Dyson but, prima facie, it would appear that her actions may have contravened numerous pieces of legislation, including: The Town and Country Planning Act, Highways Act, Anti-Social Behaviour Act. Local Government Act, and Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005. As well as being cat-locer, I'm also a tree-lover (though not -hugger!), and I'm appalled at the amount of fly-posting on our fine old street trees. Not only is it unsightly and potentially distracting to drivers but when it is affixed with drawing pins (as it often is) these can rust and damage the tree. My heart goes out to those who've lost pets (I'm sure we've all seen the missing parrot ones around the borough recently) but the line has to be drawn somewhere. Rather like the farrago in Walthamstow Town Square this weekend, we need to come to a consensus as a society about which laws and by-laws we're willing to enforce and if we're not, repeal them. With missing pets perhaps the Council should set up a page on its own website where anxious owners can post details rather than risk damaging our environment. newyear

6:11pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Morris Hickey says...

So if it was a "mistake" might we know which jobsworth the council has dismissed?
So if it was a "mistake" might we know which jobsworth the council has dismissed? Morris Hickey

6:54pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Mistake, my eye!

Some councillor or council officer has seen the response of website readers and backtracked rapidly before the local authority is made to look even more foolish than it already is.

And, newyear, I saw these posters myself on lampposts (tied on with string) and in shop windows. I don't think they were up more than a week or so, a fortnight at most. It's the sort of thing you see all over the borough. Why this resident was picked on I don't know.
Mistake, my eye! Some councillor or council officer has seen the response of website readers and backtracked rapidly before the local authority is made to look even more foolish than it already is. And, newyear, I saw these posters myself on lampposts (tied on with string) and in shop windows. I don't think they were up more than a week or so, a fortnight at most. It's the sort of thing you see all over the borough. Why this resident was picked on I don't know. Helen, Walthamstow

6:58pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Helen, Walthamstow says...

I meant also to respond to your point about putting notices on the council website, newyear. Who's going to look there to see what cats or dogs might be missing?

The cat was lost - and found - in the Avon Road neighbourhood. The only way to reach people in the area quickly was to put up the posters. It worked.
I meant also to respond to your point about putting notices on the council website, newyear. Who's going to look there to see what cats or dogs might be missing? The cat was lost - and found - in the Avon Road neighbourhood. The only way to reach people in the area quickly was to put up the posters. It worked. Helen, Walthamstow

7:03pm Mon 8 Feb 10

jrp says...

Where are these jobsworths when stickers are being put on lamp posts in Leytonstone about prostitution?
Where are these jobsworths when stickers are being put on lamp posts in Leytonstone about prostitution? jrp

7:49pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Walthamster says...

Helen, Walthamstow wrote:
Mistake, my eye!

Some councillor or council officer has seen the response of website readers and backtracked rapidly before the local authority is made to look even more foolish than it already is.

And, newyear, I saw these posters myself on lampposts (tied on with string) and in shop windows. I don't think they were up more than a week or so, a fortnight at most. It's the sort of thing you see all over the borough. Why this resident was picked on I don't know.
I think it was because the owner had put her phone number and/or address. Just the sort of person our mighty council would pick on -- honest, doing no harm and an easy target.

And I agree -- "mistake" indeed! Just a bit more bad publicity before an election.
[quote][p][bold]Helen, Walthamstow[/bold] wrote: Mistake, my eye! Some councillor or council officer has seen the response of website readers and backtracked rapidly before the local authority is made to look even more foolish than it already is. And, newyear, I saw these posters myself on lampposts (tied on with string) and in shop windows. I don't think they were up more than a week or so, a fortnight at most. It's the sort of thing you see all over the borough. Why this resident was picked on I don't know.[/p][/quote]I think it was because the owner had put her phone number and/or address. Just the sort of person our mighty council would pick on -- honest, doing no harm and an easy target. And I agree -- "mistake" indeed! Just a bit more bad publicity before an election. Walthamster

10:38pm Mon 8 Feb 10

newyear says...

OK, so let's declare open season and have any amount of fly-posting on our street trees - because that's the alternative to allowing none at all. The legislation is there for a very good reason but inconsistent enforcement brings it into disrepute. I daresay there have been other prosecutions it's just that this one involved a lovely fluffy cat and the Guardian knows full well that's the way to get the British public worked up into a frenzy. It's all good for business!
OK, so let's declare open season and have any amount of fly-posting on our street trees - because that's the alternative to allowing none at all. The legislation is there for a very good reason but inconsistent enforcement brings it into disrepute. I daresay there have been other prosecutions it's just that this one involved a lovely fluffy cat and the Guardian knows full well that's the way to get the British public worked up into a frenzy. It's all good for business! newyear

10:45pm Mon 8 Feb 10

newyear says...

Oh, by the by, Helen, when I lost my cat I put notes through my neighbours' letterboxes and that worked too - and no trees were harmed.
Oh, by the by, Helen, when I lost my cat I put notes through my neighbours' letterboxes and that worked too - and no trees were harmed. newyear

11:10pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Techno2 says...

newyear wrote:
Oh, by the by, Helen, when I lost my cat I put notes through my neighbours' letterboxes and that worked too - and no trees were harmed.
When I lost my cat I found it because of a person had kindly put a notice up on a lamp post to say that the cat was in their neighbourhood.

It had strayed over half a mile from where I live - I would never had thought the little fellow could have turned up so far away if I'd not come across the notice, and would never have thought of leafletting houses in that area.
[quote][p][bold]newyear[/bold] wrote: Oh, by the by, Helen, when I lost my cat I put notes through my neighbours' letterboxes and that worked too - and no trees were harmed.[/p][/quote]When I lost my cat I found it because of a person had kindly put a notice up on a lamp post to say that the cat was in their neighbourhood. It had strayed over half a mile from where I live - I would never had thought the little fellow could have turned up so far away if I'd not come across the notice, and would never have thought of leafletting houses in that area. Techno2

11:18pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Morris Hickey says...

Mrs Slocombe had problems with her ****.
Mrs Slocombe had problems with her ****. Morris Hickey

11:24pm Mon 8 Feb 10

Techno2 says...

Oooh er.
Oooh er. Techno2

3:52am Tue 9 Feb 10

Investigations says...

As a small boy I had two delightful black cats one named Sambo and the other ****! Nothing racial about that but if they'd appeared on "Cat Lost" posters today there would have been rioting in Brixton and Civil war in L.A! Can you imagine the turmoil on the streets of South Woodford and all the inquiries by the 'thought' police!
As a small boy I had two delightful black cats one named Sambo and the other ****! Nothing racial about that but if they'd appeared on "Cat Lost" posters today there would have been rioting in Brixton and Civil war in L.A! Can you imagine the turmoil on the streets of South Woodford and all the inquiries by the 'thought' police! Investigations

4:01am Tue 9 Feb 10

Investigations says...

Sad to see that the "N" Word is automatically eradicated from our messages, whatever the context! Isn't it about time we grew up and discovered that whilst sticks and stones can be damaging words will never hurt us? Of course I speak as a Honkie!
Sad to see that the "N" Word is automatically eradicated from our messages, whatever the context! Isn't it about time we grew up and discovered that whilst sticks and stones can be damaging words will never hurt us? Of course I speak as a Honkie! Investigations

8:51am Tue 9 Feb 10

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Newyear, I entirely agree with you that flyposting is a blot on the landscape, but this case is in a different league to the real damage being done all over the borough by people who never get caught or fined and who make money out of the events they publicise. Most of them glue up their notices, they don't tie them with string round lampposts and remove them when their job is done.

In essence, this family have been picked on because they are honest and give their details. A gentle warning not to do it again would be enough.

Incidentally, they did put notices through neighbours' doors but they couldn't blanket the whole area with these.
Newyear, I entirely agree with you that flyposting is a blot on the landscape, but this case is in a different league to the real damage being done all over the borough by people who never get caught or fined and who make money out of the events they publicise. Most of them glue up their notices, they don't tie them with string round lampposts and remove them when their job is done. In essence, this family have been picked on because they are honest and give their details. A gentle warning not to do it again would be enough. Incidentally, they did put notices through neighbours' doors but they couldn't blanket the whole area with these. Helen, Walthamstow

11:02am Tue 9 Feb 10

newyear says...

Fair comment, Helen. The law is a very blunt instrument but surely we need some rules in society or chaos (I won't say anarchy because there's a tenable philosophical argument to be made for that in its proper sense) would ensue. I do agree, though, that a gentle warning would have been fairer as most people aren't even aware of the raft of legislation covering such an apparently innocent action. However, the council's backtracking does appear to be politically motivated this close to an election and that is a worrying trend, although in this instance hardly the end of civilisation as we know it! And if you don't like my idea of a opage on the council website maybe more community noticeboards might appeal?
Fair comment, Helen. The law is a very blunt instrument but surely we need some rules in society or chaos (I won't say anarchy because there's a tenable philosophical argument to be made for that in its proper sense) would ensue. I do agree, though, that a gentle warning would have been fairer as most people aren't even aware of the raft of legislation covering such an apparently innocent action. However, the council's backtracking does appear to be politically motivated this close to an election and that is a worrying trend, although in this instance hardly the end of civilisation as we know it! And if you don't like my idea of a opage on the council website maybe more community noticeboards might appeal? newyear

12:57pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Walthamster says...

Newyear, what is the problem? Very few people put notices on trees except for the occasional lost pet or small local events. It does no harm to trees or environment.

The council, on the other hand, injures trees by having them cut back at the wrong time of year, and allows many to be cut down for building developments.

As for the environment: those massive 2007 film posters on the hoardings beside Blackhorse Rd tube are still peeling off in great heavy folds over the pavement, the original pictures obliterated by layers of other posters that have been stuck over them. It's like a picture of urban blight.

Any action from the council? forget it!
Newyear, what is the problem? Very few people put notices on trees except for the occasional lost pet or small local events. It does no harm to trees or environment. The council, on the other hand, injures trees by having them cut back at the wrong time of year, and allows many to be cut down for building developments. As for the environment: those massive 2007 film posters on the hoardings beside Blackhorse Rd tube are still peeling off in great heavy folds over the pavement, the original pictures obliterated by layers of other posters that have been stuck over them. It's like a picture of urban blight. Any action from the council? forget it! Walthamster

1:24pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Helen, Walthamstow says...

Funnily enough, newyear, I nearly added a paragraph to my comment suggesting community noticeboards -until I realised that they too would probably be abused by flyposters and graffiti merchants.

All I really want is for the heat to be turned on the people who really ruin our environment rather than respectable citizens looking for lost moggies.
Funnily enough, newyear, I nearly added a paragraph to my comment suggesting community noticeboards -until I realised that they too would probably be abused by flyposters and graffiti merchants. All I really want is for the heat to be turned on the people who really ruin our environment rather than respectable citizens looking for lost moggies. Helen, Walthamstow

1:50pm Tue 9 Feb 10

livedheretoolong says...

What a facinating debate!
18 months ago one of our cats disappeared and we put up notices around the immediate neighbourhood (it never occurred to me at the time that we might be contravening various bits of legistlation). Unfortunately the cat was never found but the kind response we received from many local people offering to help was heart warming.
Whilst I understand why one council department would feel the need to control fly posting, etc. I'm sure another one would happily spend millions of pounds of our money thinking up new schemes to try and promote this kind of community cohesion.
So, I think they made the right decision in the end and I'm sure it has nothing to do with the forthcoming local elections.
What a facinating debate! 18 months ago one of our cats disappeared and we put up notices around the immediate neighbourhood (it never occurred to me at the time that we might be contravening various bits of legistlation). Unfortunately the cat was never found but the kind response we received from many local people offering to help was heart warming. Whilst I understand why one council department would feel the need to control fly posting, etc. I'm sure another one would happily spend millions of pounds of our money thinking up new schemes to try and promote this kind of community cohesion. So, I think they made the right decision in the end and I'm sure it has nothing to do with the forthcoming local elections. livedheretoolong

2:30pm Tue 9 Feb 10

newyear says...

Walthamster wrote:
Newyear, what is the problem? Very few people put notices on trees except for the occasional lost pet or small local events. It does no harm to trees or environment. The council, on the other hand, injures trees by having them cut back at the wrong time of year, and allows many to be cut down for building developments. As for the environment: those massive 2007 film posters on the hoardings beside Blackhorse Rd tube are still peeling off in great heavy folds over the pavement, the original pictures obliterated by layers of other posters that have been stuck over them. It's like a picture of urban blight. Any action from the council? forget it!
In the main, Walthamster, I don't disagree with your point of view, especially in relation to pollarding at the wrong time of year. However, flyposting IS an environmental blight and IS illegal. One only has to look at the number of rusting drawing pins in the mature London Planes around where I live to see that it is indeed a matter of concern. There may only be a few notices (though more than you apparently believe) but over time they can cause damage. As I said before, I think we either have to allow everyone to flypost or no-one; no public authority can or should be expected to make subjective decisions on a case-by-case basis.
[quote][p][bold]Walthamster[/bold] wrote: Newyear, what is the problem? Very few people put notices on trees except for the occasional lost pet or small local events. It does no harm to trees or environment. The council, on the other hand, injures trees by having them cut back at the wrong time of year, and allows many to be cut down for building developments. As for the environment: those massive 2007 film posters on the hoardings beside Blackhorse Rd tube are still peeling off in great heavy folds over the pavement, the original pictures obliterated by layers of other posters that have been stuck over them. It's like a picture of urban blight. Any action from the council? forget it![/p][/quote]In the main, Walthamster, I don't disagree with your point of view, especially in relation to pollarding at the wrong time of year. However, flyposting IS an environmental blight and IS illegal. One only has to look at the number of rusting drawing pins in the mature London Planes around where I live to see that it is indeed a matter of concern. There may only be a few notices (though more than you apparently believe) but over time they can cause damage. As I said before, I think we either have to allow everyone to flypost or no-one; no public authority can or should be expected to make subjective decisions on a case-by-case basis. newyear

2:41pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Earle Martin says...

jrp wrote:
Where are these jobsworths when stickers are being put on lamp posts in Leytonstone about prostitution?
Not to mention the "psychic" who's been sticking her posters up around Leytonstone for years. I've made a little sport of personally escorting them to the recycling bin.
[quote][p][bold]jrp[/bold] wrote: Where are these jobsworths when stickers are being put on lamp posts in Leytonstone about prostitution?[/p][/quote]Not to mention the "psychic" who's been sticking her posters up around Leytonstone for years. I've made a little sport of personally escorting them to the recycling bin. Earle Martin

2:51pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Walthamster says...

But newyear, that's exactly what's wrong. The law is not applied even-handedly in Waltham Forest, and cases like this rub people's faces in it.

The huge derelict hoardings crumbling over the pavement of in Blackhorse Rd may sound trivial, but it's a good example. A potentially dangerous eyesore, but no one is fined, no one is ordered to put it right.

Even more in our faces is the council's own "disappearance" of millions of pounds. Seven investigations, no one fined, no one taken to court.

That's why people get so angry about mean little nitpicking cases like this. They don't see justice being done. It would be different if the council was harsh but fair, but instead we see endless leniency for big offenders, and tough action taken against easy targets.
But newyear, that's exactly what's wrong. The law is not applied even-handedly in Waltham Forest, and cases like this rub people's faces in it. The huge derelict hoardings crumbling over the pavement of in Blackhorse Rd may sound trivial, but it's a good example. A potentially dangerous eyesore, but no one is fined, no one is ordered to put it right. Even more in our faces is the council's own "disappearance" of millions of pounds. Seven investigations, no one fined, no one taken to court. That's why people get so angry about mean little nitpicking cases like this. They don't see justice being done. It would be different if the council was harsh but fair, but instead we see endless leniency for big offenders, and tough action taken against easy targets. Walthamster

3:53pm Tue 9 Feb 10

newyear says...

Agreed, Walthamster, agreed, but at 21 postings for this article (now 22!) and 15 for the previous I think we're all in danger of overkill on this issue. I doubt a missing child or granny would have provoked such a volume of response. What an odd nation we are!
Agreed, Walthamster, agreed, but at 21 postings for this article (now 22!) and 15 for the previous I think we're all in danger of overkill on this issue. I doubt a missing child or granny would have provoked such a volume of response. What an odd nation we are! newyear

4:37pm Tue 9 Feb 10

ferdy55 says...

What a fuss about a cat. Cats dont even care who looks after them anyway. Theyre a law unto themselves.
Somebody a few months ago put posters up everywhere for a missing parrot!!!! I threw away the one that was outside my house. It looked untidy. Were we all supposed to get a net to catch it or something? Its probably been eaten by a cat by now.
What a fuss about a cat. Cats dont even care who looks after them anyway. Theyre a law unto themselves. Somebody a few months ago put posters up everywhere for a missing parrot!!!! I threw away the one that was outside my house. It looked untidy. Were we all supposed to get a net to catch it or something? Its probably been eaten by a cat by now. ferdy55

4:46pm Tue 9 Feb 10

Walthamster says...

It's funny, isn't it. I think it sparked that sense of outrage people have about injustice, especially when they feel helpless about the big things.

It's nice when, just for once, there's a good result!
It's funny, isn't it. I think it sparked that sense of outrage people have about injustice, especially when they feel helpless about the big things. It's nice when, just for once, there's a good result! Walthamster

11:21pm Tue 9 Feb 10

mdj says...

'One only has to look at the number of rusting drawing pins in the mature London Planes around where I live to see that ...'
they're pretty well indestructible! They were chosen in the first place because they could shrug off the massive air pollution of the 19th century.
Contrast LBWF's squeamishness about the odd drawing pin with its plan, now approved, to fell 120 mature trees in Lloyd and Aveling Parks as part of the Lottery bid. This will destroy the large blackbird colony in the park; also destroying the theatre on the island will expose the SSRI-protected species there to much more harm from increased lighting and footfall. Envirocrime, anyone?
'One only has to look at the number of rusting drawing pins in the mature London Planes around where I live to see that ...' they're pretty well indestructible! They were chosen in the first place because they could shrug off the massive air pollution of the 19th century. Contrast LBWF's squeamishness about the odd drawing pin with its plan, now approved, to fell 120 mature trees in Lloyd and Aveling Parks as part of the Lottery bid. This will destroy the large blackbird colony in the park; also destroying the theatre on the island will expose the SSRI-protected species there to much more harm from increased lighting and footfall. Envirocrime, anyone? mdj

11:59am Thu 11 Feb 10

Pamella says...

I have nothing to add to the above debate other than to say what a beautiful cat, I also have a fluffy black cat and he is the apple of my eye. Lynda, I am so glad he is home safe and sound. I would not be bothered about paying a fine for putting up a few posters if it got me my cat back.
I have nothing to add to the above debate other than to say what a beautiful cat, I also have a fluffy black cat and he is the apple of my eye. Lynda, I am so glad he is home safe and sound. I would not be bothered about paying a fine for putting up a few posters if it got me my cat back. Pamella

4:18am Fri 12 Feb 10

high horse says...

Although I agree that fly posting is anti-social, this case is entirely different. I would like to know if cats urinating and excreting in my garden is deemed as anti-social?
Although I agree that fly posting is anti-social, this case is entirely different. I would like to know if cats urinating and excreting in my garden is deemed as anti-social? high horse

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree