Lost cat posters are illegal

Desperate to find his missing cat Wookie, Mike Harding put up posters throughout the neighbourhood offering a reward for its safe return.

And it was not long before he received a phone call.

Not from someone who had found the pet, however, but from the council saying he was breaking the law.

'No compassion': Mike Harding with a poster appealing for information on his missing cat, Wookie. He was threatened with prosecution for fly posting

'No compassion': Mike Harding with a poster appealing for information on his missing cat, Wookie. He was threatened with prosecution for fly posting

An official letter the following day accused him of causing ‘urban decay’ with his ‘fly-posting’ and ordered him to remove the signs immediately or face a £1,000 fine.

He rushed around the streets in sub-zero temperatures to tear down the posters and finally finished at 3am on Christmas Eve – six hours before the deadline he had been given.

Mr Harding, 44, a driving instructor from Bedford, said the woman caller told him he should not have put up posters.

‘I said I was really sorry. I didn’t know I was breaking any laws and I would take them down. She asked me for my address and it was all very affable – I thought they were sending me some guidance in the post.

‘But when I got home from work on December 23 at 8.30pm I found the letter warning I would be prosecuted if the posters weren’t removed by 9am on December 24 at the latest. I had to walk around town in the snow and ice when it was minus nine degrees.

‘I’m a law-abiding citizen yet I’m being threatened with a £1,000 fine for looking for my cat. You would think the council would have some compassion.’

Missing: Mike Harding's cat, Wookie, hasn't been seen for six weeks

Missing: Mike Harding's cat, Wookie, hasn't been seen for six weeks

Mr Harding, who lives with his partner Rachael Claridge, 32, has had the seven-year-old cat since it was a kitten.

Wookie went missing in late November and his owner immediately set about printing 35 posters which he attached to lampposts, trees and parking meters. Most were held in place with cable ties but when they ran out he used tacks on four trees.

The letter from Bedford Borough Council warned: ‘Fly-posting is unsightly and now considered to be a contributory factor to urban decay. Contravention of the Act may lead to a fine of up to £1,000. This warning will be kept on record and should any further offences be committed the council will prosecute.’

The authority defended its actions yesterday, saying: ‘Our environmental enforcement team discovered more than 20 posters. Some were nailed to trees. Mr Harding has removed the posters and we are satisfied that this matter has been resolved.’

Sadly for Wookie’s owner, however, the matter remains far from resolved. His cat is still missing

Source: The Daily Mail see below

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343679/Pet-owner-blasts-council-lack-compassion-threatens-1-000-fine-lost-cat-poster.html#ixzz1AvKrjjJ6


  1. I think they have too many "evironmental enforcement team" members. Either get them off the tax payers payroll, or send them out to look for the cat. Or perhaps there is already too much urban decay at city hall

    See Mail comments

  2. When are you nice folks in Britain going to liberate yourselves from your oppressive councils?

    see previous comment for source

  3. The cat had a collar AND HAS been chipped so he had done all he could as a responsible cat owner. He has lost a much beloved pet, and a few posters after contacting all sources for lost cats including online sites is not exactly grounds for some of the sarcastic and incorrect comments being put on here. They were 1inch tack nails nailed into the trees and not 6 inch nails. I saw the posters and can't understand what the fuss is about. Bedford is not a bad place but its certainly not the clean and tidy town that the council like to put across. Mike, I really hope you find Wookie soon

  4. wake up england... if this man cant put up a missing cat flyer.... how will you ever be allowed to put a flyer for a public meeting or any other type of public assemble. Your local govt, can now call anything "urban decay" and limit your ability to free speech and public assembly......

    Robert S Lansing MI

    Please see above thread

  5. "All fly-posters should be fined. No exceptions. - Local Government Officer, England," ------------ All local government officers, should be tarred and feathered, as the worthless excuses for sentient creatures they are. Then they should be run out of town and chased into the forest, where they can live in relative peace, except for the brief hunting season which will be instituted for two weeks of every year..
    - Steve, Perth, Australia, 05/1/2011 00:2

  6. Comments so far all link to the publishing of the Mail story and can be followed on the Mail site