A man who admitted to illegally breeding two litters of puppies has been fined.

Adam Barr, from Darlington, admitted a charge of unlicensed dog breeding after he bred two litters without a license in place.

The 32-year-old of Huntingdon Close, also converted his garage into kennels where he kept 14 dogs of various breeds, including XL Bullies - a breed at the centre of calls to be banned. 

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Anyone who breeds dogs as a business, meaning they earn more than £1000, from the sale of dogs, or has more than two litters a year must be licensed, under regulations brought in in 2018.

At current selling prices that could mean selling just one puppy is classed as a business.

Peterlee Magistrates Court heard how unlicensed Barr bred two litters of Springer Spaniels from two different bitches. On Tuesday (July 4) magistrates ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £345.

The Northern Echo: The case was heard at Peterlee Magistrates Court.The case was heard at Peterlee Magistrates Court. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

In mitigation, the court was told that Barr adored his dogs, and they were in exemplary health.

He had also not re-engaged in breeding since finding out that a licence was required.

‘Lucy’s Law’, introduced in April 2020, also means that anyone wanting to get a new puppy must buy direct from a breeder, or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth.

Licensing a breeder includes a vet check to ensure the animals are treated well and living in appropriate conditions. They are also given a star rating enabling purchasers to make an informed choice when buying a puppy.

Local councils are responsible for issuing licences.

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Cllr Amanda Riley, Darlington Council Cabinet member for stronger communities, said: “Buying from unlicensed sellers puts money into the hands of criminals and prevents properly qualified officers from checking the conditions and welfare of puppies.

“Our licensing team is clamping down on illegal puppy sellers who put money before animal welfare. Our licensing officers have acted on information supplied by residents about sellers advertising on websites.

“This case follows two other successful prosecutions relating to illegal breeding and selling which resulted in disqualification orders being imposed preventing those involved from owning dogs. They all clearly illustrate that those involved in this illegal trade can expect to be prosecuted.”