Cotswold dog boarder convicted of causing unnecessary harm following dog death

Cotswold District Council has prosecuted an individual for offences relating to the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

A Cotswold resident, Mrs Sarah Bliss from Daglingworth, pleaded guilty to two offences at a hearing yesterday (6 March 2023). The first offence, under Section 13 (1) of the 2006 Act was in relation to boarding dogs at her home address without a licence. The second offence, under Section 4 of the 2006 Act was in relation to causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

The prosecution was brought by the Licensing Team at Cotswold District Council with the assistance of the Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit.

The Court heard a dog named ‘Fig’ was in the care of Mrs Bliss when boarding in the kennels at her home address in August 2022. The Council stated that Mrs Bliss failed to provide any monitoring of the dogs for which she was responsible over a period of 6 hours during very hot temperatures. Mrs Bliss had failed to protect ‘Fig’ and prevent unnecessary suffering caused by ‘heatstroke’ – the condition whereby a body overheats resulting in multiple organ failure – which caused the subsequent death of the dog ‘Fig’ later that day in the vet practice.

Mrs Bliss was not licensed to provide kennel boarding for dogs at that time. However, Mrs Bliss had previously been licensed and despite taking on new bookings, had allowed the licence to lapse without renewing it. 

Mrs Bliss was convicted of both offences after pleading guilty and received a £2000 fine and has to pay a £400 victim surcharge. Full court costs were also awarded to the Council. Mrs Bliss showed remorse for what had occurred and has since closed the kennels.

Cllr Juliet Layton, Cabinet Member for Development Management and Licensing, said: “I am very grateful for the work of our Licensing Team and the Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit on this case. It is positive news to hear about the successful outcome of this prosecution.

“Animal cruelty is a despicable crime and Cotswold District Council will not hesitate to take action whenever we learn offences are being committed. This verdict should act as a deterrent to anyone who neglects or ill-treats an animal in their care.”

The prosecution was undertaken by Cotswold District Council’s Legal Services team working with the Council’s Licensing Team and Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit (CFEU).  

Members of the public can contact the Council with any concerns about animal welfare or animal licensing for the Cotswolds by emailing fraud.referrals@cotswold.gov.uk or the licensing team at ers@cotswold.gov.uk.

For more information and to apply for licensing, please visit: cotswold.gov.uk/environment/animals-and-wildlife/

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