A woman sharing two caravans with almost 40 dogs on her Sutherland croft could have the operation shut down amid animal welfare concerns.
Anne Duncan, 59, lives in a static caravan at remote Blandy near Tongue with many of the dogs, while others are housed in nearby cages.
When investigators dropped in, she had 18 dogs including two litters of puppies inside her caravan.
They also found two litters of puppies and their mothers in a 4ft x 4ft floor space in her bedroom, which is also used for birthing.
Mrs Duncan was told to apply for a dog breeding licence in May after an enforcement visit. The Scottish SPCA has since objected to her application. A joint inspection with council officers and a vet followed on July 27.
Highland Council’s licensing committee will consider her application for a licence under the Breeding of Dogs Act next week.
Councillors have been urged to reject the application amid concern about the pets’ accommodation and potential for the spread of diseases among the animals.
Mrs Duncan, has dedicated her life to dogs. She currently has 37 on her croft, 13 of them rescue dogs.
Speaking yesterday to the Press and Journal she broke down in tears, claiming it could be the end of her 20-year crusade to save strays.
She said: “My fear now is that I’ll have to give them all up. I haven’t needed a licence until now. But they’re not giving me any opportunity to comply.”
A recent law change restricts the number of litters allowed.
Mrs Duncan, a widow who survived breast cancer 20 years ago, said she only breeds dogs to cover the cost of caring for the strays.
She claimed that living at such close quarters to a large number of dogs had not harmed her or the animals and that they were all kept in top physical condition.
But in a report, environmental health officer Chris Ratter said: “The vet, SSPCA and local authority inspectors were not satisfied that the premises should be licensed.”
He highlighted surfaces that were impossible to clean and risk of disease due to the large number of dogs on the premises.
He is also concerned about “significantly inadequate” record keeping.
Mrs Duncan said she had sound answers for all his concerns.