Fine for couple who offered dog-sitting services without licence confirmed by court

Couple fined €6,000 for offering dog-sitting services without the necessary licence and permits

Dog (File photo)
Dog (File photo)

A couple from Santa Venera has been fined €6,000 after they were found guilty of offering pet-sitting services without the proper licence.

The case dates back to 2018, when officers from the Ħamrun police station received a report that a house in Santa Venera was keeping dogs without the necessary permits.

The person behind the report had flagged that the dogs were being kept in unsanitary conditions and were barking loudly.

On 29 December 2018, the police and animal welfare officials had carried out a random inspection, and had found 13 dogs which were found in clean conditions.

The owners of the residence, Keith Caruana and Lara Bezzina, were asked to provide the necessary permits, but claimed there was no need for a permit because this activity was not regulated by law.

They were charged with operating kennels without a licence, and without applying for the necessary permits from the authorities. They were also charged with causing an inconvenience to their neighbours.

On the 26 January, they were found guilty of the first two charges, but were not found guilty of causing an inconvenience. They were fined €6,000.

They appealed the sentence, but Judge Aaron Bugeja turned down the appeal on Tuesday.

He remarked that the prosecution had presented a number of screenshots to prove that people were satisfied with the service.

Bugeja remarked that evidence showed dog-sitting was Bezzina’s employment, and six of the 13 dogs found on the day of the inspection were owned by the couple.

The fine was confirmed by the judge, who remarked that it was already the minimum sum required by law.