A Darlington man and woman have been arrested following an investigation into the illegal breeding of dogs.
The two suspects were arrested in the Firthmoor area of Darlington last week on suspicion of money laundering, unlicensed breeding and false representation fraud.
They were questioned by officers and have since been released under investigation to allow further investigation.
Read more: Darlington man behind bars after wave of city break-ins
The arrests follow a joint investigation, led by Durham County Council’s Business Standards team with support from Durham Police.
Sergeant James Woodcock of the Darlington Neighborhood Police Team said: “It has become evident that organized crime and criminals are using dog breeding to generate wealth and support other illegal activities.
“Breeding without a license not only poses animal welfare issues, but lack of regulation can also fund dog theft, as new animals are needed to meet demand.
“I urge the people of Darlington to research where they buy animals and follow the advice of the RSPCA and other animal placement charities.”
Durham Police confirmed on Wednesday August 11 that investigations were still ongoing.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s Community Protective Services Manager, said: “We are working with our partners to continue to fight and raise awareness of illegal dog breeding across the county.
Stay up to date with all the latest news in the county by visiting our new Darlington Live home page.
Facebook: Here is our main Darlington page.
Twitter: You can follow the Darlington Live stream here.
Bulletin: You can sign up for our daily Darlington Live newsletter here
“It’s really important that people know who they’re buying a dog from.
“Choosing a responsible and licensed breeder will increase your chances of owning a happy and healthy dog.
“So I encourage everyone to be well informed before agreeing to buy a puppy, or consider placing a dog through a charity to provide a loving home.
An animal activities permit is required for any person who maintains a breeding establishment (including private accommodation) for dogs who meets the following conditions:
- If in a 12 month period their dogs give birth to three or more litters, whether or not they are in the dog breeding and selling business.
- Anyone “active” in the breeding and sale of dogs must be the holder of a license regardless of the number of litters they have over a 12-month period.
A license is also required for anyone who sells puppies as a business, regardless of how many litters they have per year. Commercial test is income over £ 1000 when they clearly advertise puppies for sale (either themselves or via proxy sellers).
To subscribe to Teesside Live updates, go here