Why this pet shop has stopped selling pets after more than 40 years
PUBLISHED: 16:56 06 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:35 07 August 2019
A pet shop owner has said that government red tape has forced him to stop selling pets after four decades in the business.
Nestled in Hellesdon's Dixon Shopping Centre, Fido's Pet Bazaar has been an established place for people to choose a new pet, having been opened by Alan and Lorna Raven in 1977.
However, changes to Broadland Council's licensing policy have meant that after 42 years, Fido's Pet Bazaar no longer sells pets.
Mr Raven said the changes were brought about by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which set stricter guidelines for pet shops to comply with - should they wish to sell live animals.
These include minimum cage requirements for birds and small animals, a heavier record-keeping workload and far more regular inspections.
And Mr Raven said the changes have meant the conditions his store is kept in - deemed acceptable before - were no longer within regulation.
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He said: "It feels like unnecessary red tape to me. I have been in this trade since 1977, but now suddenly we are not good enough - it is very frustrating.
"We have now lost our unique selling point - previously we would sell small animals like guinea pigs and hamsters, and birds like budgies and canaries, but we have had to stop that."
Mr Raven said a new grading system - similar to food hygiene ratings - had set unrealistic bars to reach and that it would be better for him to stop selling animals than risk a low rating.
He said: "The level of record-keeping expected just isn't achievable for a business of my size and if I were to be given a low rating for that reason it would damage my reputation.
"However if somebody was to start breeding hamsters at home privately, they wouldn't be put under the same scrutiny."
At a meeting of Broadland's licensing committee in January, at which the regulations were discussed, concerns were raised on the impact they could have on small businesses, however, it was also accepted that the new measures came as a result of changes to legislature nationally.
Broadland District Council was unable to comment.