Published: Monday, 8th Jul 2024

Bolton Council has successfully prosecuted a resident for running a dog home-boarding business and providing day care for dogs without a licence.

Leonie Smethurst is the sole director of Dudley Waggins Ltd and Dudley’s Luxury Home Boarding and Dog Walking Services, operating from her home address in Horwich.

The businesses have operated for over five years providing dog daycare and home boarding for dogs, respectively. Both businesses require separate licences. 

Ms Smethurst claimed that she was operating a dog walking and dog grooming business only, which are not licensable activities. However, complaints from members of the public led to an investigation by the council’s licencing team.
Ms Smethurst pleaded guilty to the offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 at Bolton Magistrates Court on Monday 24 June. She was ordered to pay a £1000 fine and £1209 in costs. 

When questioned by council officers, Ms Smethurst said she did not board dogs, that they were only walked and groomed. Later she admitted to keeping the dogs for hours in between their “walks”.

Over the past three years, Ms Smethurst has submitted three applications to the council to provide daycare and overnight boarding for dogs. 

On all three occasions she failed to provide council officers with the required documentation and completed works to the premises to enable her to be issued with a licence.

Garry Parker, Bolton Council’s Assistant Director of Environment and Regulatory Services, said:

“This case sends a strong message to anyone operating an animal boarding business or daycare without the appropriate license to run it that we will prosecute them. 

“Animal boarding businesses and daycare must be inspected and approved to ensure they provide a safe and appropriate environment that meets the required standards. 

“Pet owners put their complete trust in these places and dog boarding and daycare businesses must adhere to the legal requirements.”