THE owner of a group of loud barking dogs has been ordered to have them taught to shut up - or face a jail term.

City of York Council twice prosecuted Lesley Smith, 63, because her pets made life a misery for her neighbours.

When a noise abatement order failed to get her to silence her dogs, York magistrates made her subject to an indefinite criminal behaviour order.

She must now rehome one of her three remaining dogs by February 25 and arrange by the same date for a professionally qualified and registered dog behaviour coach to train the other two dogs to keep quiet.

If she fails to do either or fails to supervise her dogs whenever they are outside, including when they are in her garden, she could be jailed for up to five years.

Smith, of Hinton Avenue, Foxwood, pleaded guilty to two charges of breaching the noise abatement order and was fined £240 with £1,000 prosecution costs and a £30 statutory surcharge.

She is still paying the £2171.94 penalty a different Bench of York magistrates gave her in May after she admitted five breaches of the noise abatement order, all committed in December.

At the latest hearing, Victoria Waudby, prosecuting, said council officers recorded the dogs barking so loud they seriously interfered with the neighbours’ ability to carry out normal at-home activities on nine separate occasions in a week from April 30 to May 7.

The dogs were equally noisy and therefore statutory noise nuisances on 12 occasions in the week from July 5 and July 12.

Smith, who represented herself, said the noise level had reduced since she rehomed one of her four dogs in July as the remaining three were “more responsive to being told to be quiet”.

She disputed claims the dogs were noisy at night.

She did not object to the criminal behaviour order being made.