Thursday, April 08, 2010
Joan Higgins (owner of Major's Pets Greater Manchester) fell foul of Nanny's jobsworths recently, and was electronically tagged.
She sold a goldfish to a 15 year old boy!
The law requires that animals cannot be sold to under 16s, unless they are accompanied by an adult.
Nanny's chums from Trafford Council had heard rumours that she had sold a gerbil to an underage girl with learning difficulties, who later dropped it into a cup of coffee. Therefore they sent in the boy to test the system.
Ms Higgins was tagged because she is not fit enough to perform community service.
During the "sting operation", an animal welfare officer also noticed a cockatiel in the store that appeared in distress and, when examined, was found to have a broken leg and eye problem.
Higgins was fined £1K and ordered to stay in her house between 1800 and 0700.
I don't like to see animals suffer, and assume that the sentence (taking into account the suffering of the cockatiel) is reasonable. However, the sting operation used by the council (that in effect was entrapment) used to test the system sits uncomfortably in a democracy.
The suffering of the cockatiel could have been identified by a simple visit (open and above board) by the animal welfare officer. Fishing for criminal activity, in the hope of finding something, is not a path that councils should be travelling.
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