A woman has been prosecuted for running an unlicensed dog hotel business from her home.

Gillian Dennett, 57, of Eaton Lane, Tarporley, pleaded guilty to two offences at Chester Magistrates Court.

She was ordered to pay fines and costs of hundreds of pounds after proceedings were instigated by Cheshire West and Chester Council’s regulatory services team.

In promotional material for the ‘Happy Dog Hotel’, Dennett stated she was both licensed and insured, which was untrue, creating an offence under consumer protection legislation.

Also, under the Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, a licence from the council is needed to operate a home boarding business or a day-care facility for dogs.

Traders must apply for and be granted a licence before they can begin operating, and the premises of all applicants are rigorously inspected by the council before a licence is issued.

Dennett was fined £838, ordered to pay investigation costs of £522, legal costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £83 – a total of £1,528.

Despite contacting the council in 2015 about a licence for her business, she continued to run it without one.

When she appeared in court Dennett explained that she mistakenly believed her registration on the ‘Dog Buddy’ and ‘Tailster’ websites covered her licence and insurance obligations.

CWaC cabinet member for environment, Cllr Karen Shore, said: “This case sends out a clear message that the authority will not tolerate unlicensed businesses that potentially put animal welfare at risk.

“We had no option other than to instigate prosecution proceedings.

“Licences are needed and conditions are attached to licences to ensure that animals are kept in safe and appropriate conditions – safe from the risk of infection or other harm.

“Registering a home dog boarding business with one of the many websites available does not provide the necessary licence or insurance needed.”

There are 68 licensed home boarding businesses in Cheshire West and Chester. The figure does not include the many kennels and catteries not within a residential setting.