A woman who let her dog stray has landed a hefty bill after failing to pay a fine.

Neighbourhood wardens collected the animal which had been taken to Cestria Vets in Chester-le-Street, County Durham in March this year.

The dog was scanned and a microchip was found, but it was not registered to any owner so the pooch was taken to kennels.

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The owner was tracked down to Houghton-le-Spring and handed a £100 fine for allowing the pet to stray, but she failed to pay the penalty.

The case went to court and the woman failed to attend but was found guilty in her absence and now must pay a hefty £538 in fines and costs.

Microchipping a dog costs, on average, just £15 according to the RSPCA. It means the woman could have chipped her pet 35 times over for the amount she now has to pay.

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It comes as owners have been reminded to get their pets chipped.

Speaking after the case Durham’s neighbourhood wardens said: “Thousands of pets are lost every year and many are never reunited with their owners.

“Microchipping your pet gives them the best chance of being identified and returned to you if they get lost or stolen.”