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What is this? Advice appreciated

Question

I was walking my small dog. Suddenly a woman runs up to me. She asks for my ID and want me to pay her 30 euros. I decline politely and would like to know why she asks me this. She tells me, your dog was off the lead. Well no, it is one of those roll out leads. It could have appeared to her from a distance that my dog was off the lead. I continue walking my dog and she follows me, 2 steps behind, and tries to intimidate me to pay her the money. 10 minutes on, another person joins, a man. Both start shouting at me. When I ask them to please please leave me alone, he leaves. She continues to follow me closely for another 10 minutes. I do not have my smart phone on me and go into a local resto and phone the police.The police arrives, checks my credentials and tell me all ok, you can go home.  This all happened in July this year. I send a complaint to the commune of etterbeek but no response. I thought that was the end of it. 2 weeks ago I received a letter from the Etterbeek commune. They ask my side of the story, so I did. This morning I get a letter from Etterbeek commune basically saying that they do not believe my side of the story and that I have to pay them 100 euros(!). Any advice very welcome. Do I stand a chance against the commune or can they just do what they want?

J

You should have instructions on how to appeal or how to contest the fine. There's a good chance it will then end up in court where you can show the lead to the judge and ask what evidence they have.

It would also be a good idea to look up one of your local councillors and ask for advice.

Dec 3, 2019 08:21
tralala1

Thank you! I did not get any instruction how to appeal or how to contest te fine. I was just asked for my side of the story. Then the civil servant at commune Etterbeek decided that I was wrong and charged me a 100 euro fine. I made an appointment with the mediation service of Etterbeek and will ask legal advice. I feel terrorised, first when I was harrassed on the street for in total half an hour and afterwards that I am told on top of it all to pay a 100 euro fine. It is very nasty when someone walks 2 steps behind you and follows you for a while whilst trying to intimidate you.

Dec 3, 2019 12:21
tralala1

Any more advice very welcome, thank you

Dec 3, 2019 12:26
wezembeekwanderer

This is an extraordinary and unbelievable story.
Firstly, did this woman show some identity that she was a commune dog patrol warden or had some right to stop you? Even if she was I cannot believe she had the right to demand an on the spot fine. That sounds like a scam.
Did she report you to the commune? If so you should be able to find out who she was and if she had any authority?
Do you know who you spoke to from the police. If you visit them, they should have a record of one of their team being called out that day and at that time. It would support your case.
Seeing the arbitration service is the best idea at this point. They are good at solving disputes and do everything to come to a calm and fair solution.

Good luck.
If all else fails and you have to pay the €100, go and rescue a Rottweiler from the dog rescue. She won’t follow you again.

Dec 3, 2019 23:59
becasse

She must have been wearing a visible name badge if she was able to impose a fine on you.

Dec 4, 2019 13:54
CC_R

Surely its up to them to prove it and if you have a complaint logged there and also contacted the police there should be records is this the kind of thing you house insurance would pay legal fees for?

Dec 4, 2019 16:10
anon

I think I'm with WEZEMBEEKWANDERER on this one. I'm calling it as either a troll / wind up, or tralala1 is missing substantial and significant parts of their story.

Dec 4, 2019 23:14
wezembeekwanderer

A bit of research. If the woman had a purple jacket, she is part of a neighbourhood watch service who have no powers but are there to help ensure local laws are followed and advise people if they park badly, tell them to pick up dog pooh etc. Apparently the issue of this uniform encourages some of them to go way over the top and bully citizens. certainly no power to demand money but maybe she was just saying the fine is €30.

Dec 5, 2019 00:26
B

This was likely a scam to try to trick money out of a dog walker. The reason you got the 100 euro fine I imagine is because the police were 'so kind' to report the incident to the Commune as I can not imagine why the commune otherwise would know of this. So, I understand if you felt threatened by these scammers and wanted police involved, but in the end it just ended up in the bureaucracy who somehow interpreted this as being a violation of the dog penal code and you got a fine imposed on you. The police should just have noted your complaint and left it at that, but must have interpreted it that you were walking the dog without a leash and somebody called you out on that. I am sorry - life is unfair sometimes. Good luck

Dec 5, 2019 12:45
tralala1

Thank you all. I posted yesterday the follow up but cannot find it back on here. I contacted the mediator from commune Etterbeek. They do not have an ombudsman like in Elsene. She said that she would help me, I had to send her all the communication and she would start an investigation. After 1 month she told me that she could not help me and advised me the pay the 100 euro otherwise commune Etterbeek would clear my appartement.

As I was not sure how to appeal and the fact the commune ignored my request for more info on this and that the mediator informed me a month later and then told me to appeal as she could not help me, I missed the deadline.

I wrote to the mayor. His team would look into it. I got a answer in a couple of days saying that they do not think I am a liar as the other civil servant said to me, but they cannot do anything. They said you should have appealed in time. They knew that they could get me on that one.

In the meantime I got informed, not by the commune as they are boycotting me, to contact comite P. At least I can put a complaint in against the woman and man who harassed me.

How did they look like.. They did not wear the purple shirt and badges. She had a beige top on. She showed me a badge but it was not visible at first sight. A badge can be reproduced very easily nowadays. I know the purple t shirts but I never seen her before. Apparently she is a civil servant but not sure how and what. She only could speak French, my French is ok but not fluent. She was very confusing. Basically I thought she was a nutter, also the way she came running at me from a far distance. I do not know her name, in the letter from the Commune she has a code name and her colleague too. But they all know my name and private info. I asked the police not to give my personal details to her as het behaviour was so erratic, apparently they did and I received this letter from commune Etterbeek.

I still do not know why it went from 30 euro up to 100 euro. In the letter the civil servant who deals with GAS fines, said that he can ask up to 350 euro but he decided on 100 euro. There is no logic reasoning behind, just that he felt to charge me 100 euros for this.

Jan 17, 2020 10:44

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