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GBR Press: Demand to save Sanctuary

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Posted by: W von Papinešu at Wed Oct 27 07:19:24 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by W von Papinešu ]  
   

CORNISH GUARDIAN (Truro, UK) 12 October 10 Cornwall Council urged to step in and save tortoise sanctuary from 'farse' closure
An MP has called on Cornwall Council to "end the farce" over the closure of a popular tortoise sanctuary ‚Äď after the Government confirmed it is in the local authority's power to leave it open.
Stephen Gilbert, MP for St Austell, has requested that the council review its decision to change the status of the sanctuary, which houses 400 tortoises.
In August this year the Tortoise Garden's owner, Jan Bloor, said she had been forced to close after council chiefs reclassified her business as a zoo.
Mrs Bloor is unable to afford to adhere to strict guidelines and regular inspections which she says can cost up to £25,000 a year.
She said she was "absolutely devastated" to have to close the site in Sticker, near St Austell, which attracted 12,000 visitors annually.
Now, Mr Gilbert is calling on the council to back track and allow The Tortoise Garden to reopen under its old classification.
His office claims that in the letter from Defra Minister Lord Henley, he says that "the responsibility for deciding whether an animal collection meets the definition of a zoo falls to the local authority."
Mr Gilbert said: "It's time this game of pass the parcel ended. Lord Henley's letter has confirmed that Cornwall Council have the power to rule that the Tortoise Garden isn't classed as a zoo, and should not be forced into incurring the extra costs of a zoo licence.
"I have written to Councillor Lance Kennedy, the Cabinet Member for Environmental Health and asked that, considering the new letter, he ends this farce by reviewing his decision and allowing the Tortoise Garden to reopen immediately."
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Lord Henley holds the portfolio for "welfare of companion and wild animals" at the Department.
Cornwall Council was unavailable for comment.
Cornwall Council urged to step in and save tortoise sanctuary from 'farse' closure


   

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