Saturday, 24 May 2008

It's a fine life No.2: Fine threatened over posters of missing moggy

(" If the ruler is wise, he will govern better by a natural sense of justice than by laws. If he is not wise, he will foster nothing but evil through legislation, since he will not know what use to make of the laws nor how to adapt them to the case at hand. Therefore, in civil affairs more stress should be laid on putting good and wise men in office than on making laws; for such men will themselves be the very best of laws, and will judge every variety of case with a lively sense of equity." Martin Luther. And see my own blog here.)

A woman was threatened with a fine by her local council for putting posters on lampposts to find the owners of a lost cat. Public-spirited Joy Tracey wanted to reunite Copper the ginger tom with his owners after he was found whimpering in a garden.

The grandmother-of-three traipsed around animal shelters, vets and pet shops in a bid to help the cat. She also put adverts in her local paper and called the RSPCA, but drew a blank.

So after two weeks, and desperate to help the homesick pet, the former secretary printed 12 laminated, A5-sized posters. Tracey tied them to lampposts near her home in Denton, Greater Manchester, advertising her telephone number and asking for help for the lost animal. A day later uniformed council patrollers spotted the offending ads.

Tracey had fallen foul of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992, Clauses A, B and F, and Tameside council was determined to enforce the rules. She was telephoned from the council offices and ordered to remove the posters. Read more
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Peter Kirk said...


I should hope so too. These lost cat posters are a nuisance. They are left littering our streets for weeks. There are rules about posters which are made by local councils because that is the will of the people they represent, who don't want streets full of litter. Such rules need to be obeyed, and if necessary enforced.

But I wish councils would be as zealous in removing the notices they (presumably legally) put up about planning matters when they are no longer relevant.

Revd John P Richardson said...

How about a phone call which went, "Hello Ms Tracey, we notice you're trying to trace the owners of a lost cat and have put up some adverts on posters on the local lampposts. Can we just ask you to be sure to take these down after a fortnight if you still haven't heard anything?"

Civilized and sensible. As you note, though, the Council can't even take their own posters down, so maybe they feel no one can be trusted.