by Neill Barston
A woman from Teynham has been banned for life from breeding dogs after failing to maintain her animals’ living conditions.
Melanie King, of Whents Farm, Lower Road, was ordered to undertake 150 hours’ unpaid work and to pay £1,100 costs to Swale council for breaching the conditions of her dog-breeding licence.
She was sentenced at Sittingbourne Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to 24 offences under Section 1 of the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973.
The court was shown a number of images of 40 dogs on her farm kept in cramped and squalid conditions.
Vets inspecting the premises in December last year had raised serious concerns about breeding conditions at the establishment.
It was agreed a new licence would be granted to the 55-year-old for a temporary period.
This was to allow her time to deal with hygiene issues raised.
But on three further inspections by council officers and the RSPCA between February and March, numerous breaches of the breeding licence were discovered which led to the prosecution.
In sentencing, magistrates told King that had she failed to plead guilty at an early stage, they would have imposed a custodial sentence.
Any breach of the act is serious and carries a conviction of imprisonment of three months or a fine of up to £2,500.
Speaking after sentencing, Swale council’s environmental response manager, Alister Andrews, said: “This conviction is a significant victory not only for us, but also for the animals which were kept at this establishment."