NAMED: Darlington couple fined and banned from keeping dogs

George Smith, aged 40, and his wife Nadine Smith, 34 of Burma Road in Darlington were fined after admitting the offence at Peterlee Magistrates Court on August 1.

The couple were each fined £250, ordered to pay £75 costs and a £100 victim surcharge after they sold puppies from their own property without a licence to do so.

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An investigation found the pair had advertised 44 puppies from September 2020 and one adult dog under the premise they were “moving abroad”.

Darlington Borough Council’s investigation has now led to the couple being fined a total of £850, and they are also now banned from keeping dogs for five years.

Councillor Amanda Riley, the council’s cabinet member for stronger communities, commented that this fine is part of a council-wide clampdown on these types of offences.

“Regulations were introduced in 2018 to ensure that the welfare of the animals is paramount and to protect the public from unscrupulous breeders. Buying from an unlicensed breeder can allow criminals to make a profit on the back of animal suffering, without qualified animal welfare inspectors being able to check on the dogs’ health.

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“You wouldn’t go to a restaurant for a meal and a drink if it had a zero star rating or no licence – so why would you pay hundreds of pounds for a dog from an unlicensed breeder?

“Our licensing team will continue to clampdown on unlicensed breeders and would urge anyone with concerns or information to contact them.”

Current rules dictate that earning more than £1,000 from the sale of dogs is classed as a business, meaning sellers need to obtain an official licence to breed.

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