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TORFAEN: Puppy farm probe

Torfaen Civic Centre in Pontypool

COUNCIL staff and the RSPCA are investigating an alleged puppy farm in Gwent, it has been confirmed.

A visit was made to the undisclosed location, in Torfaen, following a complaint made to the borough council with the person also contacting the animal welfare charity due to fears the dogs are being mistreated.

Members of the council’s licensing committee were informed of the visit, and the investigation that is now under way, when they were updated at their Tuesday, November 28 meeting about work undertaken by the council’s licensing officers between July and September this year.

Few details about the alleged puppy farm were disclosed but council animal health and licensing officer Hayley Gray told councillors: “The complaint received was in respect to allegations of a puppy farm operating within a compound located in the borough.”

She said an RSCPA officer had gone with the council to the compound.

During July, August and September the animal health and licensing team were also alerted to four complaints about illegal dog breeding, two of which related to activity taking place at social housing accommodation.

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Ms Gray said officers carried out a joint visit with the relevant housing association to the address, which wasn’t stated, and said “appropriate advice was given”.

In the two other cases the alleged breeders have contacted the council and denied the allegations but have been advised if further information is received investigations will be launched and “action taken as appropriate”.

In the same period the council also made an unannounced visit to an animal day boarding operator, following a tip off, and found they were exceeding the numbers they were allowed to host by their licence.

Examination of the books provided evidence the numbers had been exceeded “on numerous occasions” and the licence holder has been issued with a final written warning.

A licensed dog boarder has also been hit with a final written warning after failing to report the death of a dog in their care to the council, which is a condition of the licence.

Ms Gray said: “A full investigation was conducted by officers and a visit to the licensed premises has taken place to discuss the incident with the licensee. The licence holder has been issued with a final written warning regarding the operation of the establishment.”

A written warning was also issued to another dog boarding premises whose owner failed to report to the council, as required, that a dog had escaped. The hound was later found.

Two complaints of unlicensed boarding were also made to the council, which were both denied, and officers issued advice

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