Article by Lorna Hughes Liverpool Daily Post today:
A FORMER pet shop owner who sold primates and tortoises without a licence had a dead monkey in his freezer, a court heard.
Police raided Wirral Bird World, in Moreton, after complaints from members of the public about a tiny primate in a cage on the shop counter.
Yesterday, Brian Owen, of Denham Close, in Prenton, was banned from running a pet shop at Wirral Magistrates Court after admitting failing to ensure the welfare of an infant marmoset.
He also pleaded guilty to offering to sell two Hermann’s tortoises without the correct certificates and operating outside his pet shop licence by selling primates.
Mr Owen, who no longer owns the shop and now works for a construction firm, said his reputation had been left in tatters because of the case. The search was carried out last August by police, Wirral Council, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and experts from Monkey World, a primate rescue centre in Dorset.
Paula Grogan, prosecuting, said: “This was a very young infant on the shop counter and people were flocking to see it, putting their fingers in the cage.
“As a result, Constable Rachel Krueger, Merseyside Police’s wildlife officer, visited and saw the little monkey in what looked like a hamster cage.
“It was at risk of infection from humans because of its age.
“The officer overheard a conversation in which Mr Owen indicated it was not for Sale
, but he was willing to discuss the purchase of such monkeys.”
When interviewed, Mr Owen denied selling monkeys and said he was showing off for members of the public.
Two Hermann’s tortoises were on Sale
in the shop for £165 each, but he said he had not authorised this and his son could have put the price sticker on in error.
The court was told both have since died, and one tortoise is in Mr Owen’s freezer while the other had been “disposed of”.
She told the court Mr Owen had made an application for certificates for the tortoises 12 days after the police raid.
Mr Owen said he had ordered the monkeys for £750 each and they were delivered despite him cancelling.
He maintained he had taken advice from a veterinary nurse who he thought was experienced in caring for primates.
Mr Owen said: “My reputation has totally been blown out of the water. “
District Judge Michael Abelson ordered Owen to complete 125 hours of community service, concurrent on each of the offences, and made an order preventing him from owning a pet shop or dealing in animals.
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