TWO people have been arrested following an investigation into illegal dog breeding in County Durham and Darlington.
A man and woman were arrested last week in the Firthmoor area of Darlington on suspicion of money laundering, unlicensed breeding and false representation fraud.
Both men were questioned and released under investigation to allow further investigation.
The arrests follow a joint investigation, led by Durham County Council’s Business Standards team with support from Durham Police.
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.
“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 relocating a dog through charity to provide them with a loving home.
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.”
What is the law on dog breeding?
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 licensed 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).
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