THE owner of a dog kennels accused of animal neglect has spoken of his relief after it was given a clean bill of health by council bosses.
Cleadon Kennels has been the subject of an online petition over alleged mistreatment of dogs.
The petition, calling on Sunderland City Council to cancel its contract with the kennels to take in strays found wandering the streets, has almost 7,500 signatures.
The kennels takes in strays from South Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead, and it will now continue to do so following a council inspection.
South Tyneside Council is responsible for licensing the kennels, and its officers carried out an inspection in response to the latest claims and gave it the thumbs-up.
A council spokesman said: “As a result of the extensive debate on the internet and in the press, together with a series of allegations which have clearly prompted concerns within the local community about the premises, the council carried out an inspection.
“We would like to confirm that there are no findings that would suggest any contraventions of welfare legislation.”
John Carr, who runs the kennels with wife Lorraine, said he was never in any doubt about the outcome of the inspection but added that he hoped it would spell the end of the campaign against the kennels.
“I am hoping this means we can get on with our job, the job we have done successfully for years and years and years,” he said.
“It has been a difficult time, not just for myself, but also the staff, with people pointing fingers at us.
“We have got nothing to hide. The kennels are open for viewing by appointment.
“We have got dog wardens coming in and out who are trained environmental health people, we have got the RSPCA that comes in and out, and we have got a vet who comes in and checks the dogs once a week.”
He said had been overwhelmed by the support from the public he has received.
“I would like to thank everybody out there who has supported us,” he said.
“The amount of support we have received from people is tremendous. They have been on the phone, coming down to see us, e-mailing in.
“I would like to thank them so much.”
The council’s environmental health officers found that the kennels meet all requirements of animal welfare legislation and that there is no evidence of conditions that would warrant formal action and no grounds to substantiate the allegations made about conditions or practices on-site.
The latest inspection was held just five months after a previous check of the Cleadon Lane premises revealed no problems.
“The operators of Cleadon Kennels are obliged to do all they can to rehome strays wherever possible,” said a council spokesman.
“However, we are aware that in some cases, dogs can be retained on site for a considerable period of time.
“Strays are only put to sleep in exceptional circumstances.”