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Monkey World News

Ape experts' concern on exotic pet owners

The Swanage and Wareham Advertiser

DORSET ape experts are calling for meetings with local councils after raising concerns about licences handed out to owners of exotic pets. Jim and Alison Cronin, who run Monkey World rescue sanctuary in Wool near Wareham, want to work out a common policy with councils to prevent licences being given to people who are not caring correctly for dangerous animals. They say they have been aware, over the last few years, of a number of incidents across the county where animals such as Capuchin monkeys, leopard cats and crocodiles were being kept in people's homes in appalling conditions. The couple said they were concerned that licences were being inappropriately handed out without enough knowledge about the animals and the conditions that they required. Jim said: "People can apply for dangerous wild animal licences and some councils will give them a licence without any experience or first inspecting the premises. "Because of this system we are finding wildlife living in squalor, in terrible conditions all over the county. "We are saying to local councils all over Dorset `we are recognised experts in primates and wildlife. We want to work with you.'" PC John Snellin, Dorset Police's wildlife officer, said he was also aware of the problem. "What councils are supposed to do is look at the premises before the licences are issued." He added: "The potential for abuse is very high. There are certainly a couple of crocodiles about and there was one address until a while ago where there was an Asian leopard cat. "It's something that's gone on for years and it's about time something was done about it." Graham Shaw, of the Borough of Poole, said: "Our senior officer responsible and chairman of the council's licensing committee are looking forward to meeting with Jim. "They respect him as an expert and are happy to hear what he has to say." Jo Evans, of Bournemouth Borough Council, said: "Licences are only required for exotic pets that are listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act. "Bournemouth council would be pleased to speak with the owners of Monkey World and discuss the issues surrounding these licences and responsible pet ownership."

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