SHEFFIELD MP David Blunkett has described the embarrassment of being fined £50 after his guide dog, Cosbie, fouled a park in London.
Even though he confirmed that he was totally blind, a police officer persevered with the penalty.
“At one point, given the unpleasant if not to say aggressive attitude of the WPC, I feared I was about to be arrested,” said the former Home Secretary, who was once politically responsible for the police.
“Both responsible citizen who had reported me and the police had done their bit, and whilst, frankly, I would have thought a warning would have sufficed, it was not to be.”
He paid the fine - and found out the next day that guide dog owners are exempt from regulations to curb dog fouling.
At the same time, he mused on whether the early morning dog walker who had flagged down the police car might have used a poop-a-scoop to deal with Cosbie’s “birthday present”. (It was the dog’s third birthday).
Mr Blunkett, Labour MP for Brightside and Hilsborough, reflected that there was no sense in getting into an argument with the police officer, especially bearing mind what happened to former Government Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell.
He was in no position to refute the allegation. He didn’t have a poop-a-scoop, and felt it was best to admit liability and indicate that she was perfectly within her rights in taking up the matter. He also stuck to his principle of not humiliating himself by pleading lack of sight.
“I chose to remain schtum, externally calm and polite but internally deeply embarrassed, feeling no doubt like so many motorists must have felt when pulled into the side of the motorway whilst the process of the law took its course.”
Mr Blunkett emphasised that he agrees dog fouling is “extremely unpleasant” and he fully accepts steps to educate dog owners and to encourage them to clear up the mess.
“I have no gripe about paying the fine, but what shook me was the attitude of the WPC.
“On this occasion, I have to say it was a fair cop, even though I thought the cop was not particularly fair.”