High Court supports Arun District Council in banning exotic pet market

A fund set up in the wake of the Shoreham air disaster has received more than �15,000
A fund set up in the wake of the Shoreham air disaster has received more than �15,000

The High Court has today supported Arun District Council’s decision to ban an exotic pet market which had been planned for Fontwell Racecourse.

The Animal Protection Agency (APA) welcomed the High Court ruling today (July 31), which said Arun District Council acted properly in warning Fontwell Park Racecourse of ‘a substantial risk of unlawful activity’ at an exotic pet market which had been planned for October 27, 2013.

The racecourse heeded the council’s warnings and cancelled the event.

Judicial Review proceedings were subsequently brought against Arun Council by the market organisers, The Portsmouth Reptile and Amphibian Society, which claimed the council ‘had no power to procure the cancellation of the event’.

Prior to the proposed pet market, APA warned Arun Council sales would contravene section two of the Pet Animals Act 1951, which prohibits trading in pet animals at market stalls.

An APA spokesman said: “Arun Council together with Fontwell Park Racecourse took swift action to successfully prevent widespread law-breaking and animal suffering, which is inherent in exotic pet markets.”

Speaking at the High Court, Mrs Justice McGowan today confirmed the council ‘has a duty to do what it properly can to prevent the commission of offences by legitimate means’.

She added: “Warning an organisation such as the racecourse that its premises might be hosting an event at which unlawful activity might take place is an entirely proper course to have taken.”

APA director Elaine Toland added: “The court’s judgment upholds Arun Council’s responsible actions to prevent illegal activity and ensure that animal welfare legislation is upheld.

“The judgment represents a massive loss for the exotic pet trade and exotic animal-keeping fanatics, and a great help to law enforcers and to APA’s campaign.

“This latest judgment will enhance our work to ensure that the poor treatment of pet animals in temporary markets will soon be a thing of the past.”

The traders are likely to be ordered to pay the council’s legal costs.

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