AN Exmoor equestrian centre owner has been handed a £10,000 fine for breeding dogs without a license.

Tristan Gosling, of Whitemoor Equestrian Centre in East Anstey, was order to pay the money following a hearing on March 1 at Barnstaple Magistrates Court.

Gosling was found to be responsible for breeding dogs without the required license and selling pets without proper authorisation, contrary to the animal welfare laws.

Gosling did not attend the hearing, but submitted a guilty plea reply form, acknowledging the charges.

Magistrates heard from North Devon Council’s licensing officer, who gave evidence of the offences and took questions from the bench.

Commenting on the case, chair of the licensing and community safety committee at North Devon Council, Cllr Louisa York said: “Licensing allows us to undertake checks on a business to ensure that all welfare standards are being met, and animals are leading healthy, happy, and safe lives.

“I’m pleased we got this outcome, which hopefully sends the message to other people that we take animal welfare extremely seriously."

In Gosling’s absence, magistrates found him guilty of all counts. The verdict included fines for each offence, a victim surcharge, and prosecution costs, totalling £10,059.76.