SEVEN dogs are now in the care of an animal charity after concerns were raised about a puppy-breading programme on an allotment site.
Police officers and the RSPCA were called to the Fishbone site on Hill Crescent, Dawdon, on Sunday night, after concerns were raised about the welfare of dogs being kept on the land.
One puppy was found dead on a plot, said to be filled with squalor.
The RSPCA has said the visit, which was supported by a vet, also led to the seizure of seven dogs in total.
A spokeswoman said: “The RSPCA attended an allotment at this location on Sunday with police and a vet.
“Three adult dogs – a female golden labrador, a male lurcher and a female lurcher – and four lurcher puppies were seized by police on veterinary advice and placed in RSPCA care.
“No further information is available at this time as our investigation is on-going.”
Seaham Town Council has evicted the man who was responsible for the plot and the dogs, and the allotment holder who had been subletting it to him.
The council has said it will also be ordering him to leave another double plot on the same site.
Discussions have been held between the authority and the allotment holders’ association to firm up rules regarding dogs on the site. Owners will be asked to microchip them, with regular welfare checks to be carried out.
Seaham Neighbourhood Policing Team has said no arrests have been made.
Anyone who has information on cruelty, or an animal in distress, can call its 24-hour phoneline on 0300 1234 999.