Deeping St James Exotic Pet Refuge is backing calls for animal welfare licence reforms
The owner of an exotic pet refuge is backing calls for far greater restrictions on the trade in and keeping of wild animals as pets in the UK.
Pam Mansfield, who owns The Exotic Pet Refuge in Deeping St James, is backing calls for a reform on obtaining a Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA) licence by animal charity Born Free.
The charity has found that there are nearly 4,000 dangerous animals being kept privately in the country, with five in South Holland and 58 in South Kesteven – although several are in the care of Pam and her team of volunteers.
The calls come after recent ITV documentary Britain’s Tiger Kings – On The Trail With Ross Kemp, highlighted the growing problems associated with the keeping of wild animals as pets.
Pam said: “The worst problem is snakes and lizards – anyone can buy any amount of them from shops. Some of these snakes can get up to 15 or 16 feet long and they can be quite dangerous.
“But when it comes to other animals, if you want an animal – and you are determined – you can get it on the internet. The programme on ITV said that it’s not easy to get a DWA license but it is if you’ve got plenty of money.”
Born Free’s data suggests an increase of at least 59 per cent in dangerous wild animals kept as pets since 2000 and Pam says it’s people like her who are left to pick up the pieces.
She said: “I’ve heard of people keeping a Serval cat in their spare bedroom and some keep the animals in pens outside but some are very tiny.
“There are people who believe they should be able to keep the animals but even though there are people out there who do look after them really well, the problem is those who don’t.
“I’m not against people doing it if they can do it properly but it’s people like us who are left to pick up the pieces when they don’t.The worst thing for me is when we have to say ‘no’ because I worry about where the animals will go.
“At least if I know we have it it’s set for life.”
The Exotic Pet Refuge hopes to hold an open day on May 2, after having been unable to hold the annual Easter open day due to lockdown restrictions.
Pam added: “This year has been a nightmare as the open days bring in thousands which help us to keep going.
“We are lucky we’ve been supported by so many people and we are so thankful to everyone”
A petition has been launched a petition calling on the Government to review and reform the laws which you can sign at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/581252