Published: 18:34, 18 February 2020
| Updated: 18:43, 18 February 2020
The owner of a dog kennel pleaded guilty to running his business without a licence after a pet allegedly sustained injuries while in his care brought the company to an authority's attention.
A furious row broke out between Maidstone Springers boss Leslie Roberts and customer Lindsay Standen last summer after the death of her beloved miniature pomeranian Sashca.
Mrs Standen claims that when she arrived to pick up her pooch from the dog boarding company in Huntsman Lane following a family holiday, 10-month-old Sashca was returned to her unconscious, with a swollen head.
Having suffered brain damage and having lost the ability to walk, vets told the mum-of-two it was the worst case they had seen. After giving Sashca methadone and painkillers, they told her nothing more could be done and the family were forced to make the heartbreaking decision to put their pet to sleep.
All the while, Mrs Standen, from Charing, reported Mr Roberts to the police, Maidstone Borough Council and the RSPCA, and Maidstone Springers temporarily closed while an investigation was carried out.
No charges were brought against Mr Roberts in relation to the care of Sashca, but it was determined that he had knowingly provided a home boarding service without acquiring the licence he needed from Maidstone council.
He pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay £430 to the court. This was made up of; a fine of £120 reduced to £80; compensation of £150 to the council for part of the licence fee; and £200 contribution to court costs to Maidstone Borough Council.
The prosecution could have significant consequences for Mr Roberts as he may not be granted future licences needed to operate businesses involving a licensed animal activity, as he may not be deemed a fit or proper person under the requirements of the legislation.
Denise Joy, the chairman of licensing committee at Maidstone Borough Council said: "This case sends a strong message to anyone operating an animal boarding business without the appropriate licence to run it that we will prosecute them.
"The reformed legislation introduced last year makes it very clear that it is a legal requirement to have a licence to run a business like this. Animal boarding businesses, even those in people’s homes, need to be inspected and approved by the local council to ensure they provide a safe environment for pet owners to leave their most treasured possessions."
Since introducing the new legislation in 2018, 17 boarding businesses have been licensed, nine of them are for home boarding.
More by this authorKatie Davis