Shop owner prosecuted for selling goldfish to 14-year-old

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The Independent Online

A pet shop owner was prosecuted for selling a goldfish to a child after previously selling a gerbil to a teenager with learning disabilities who put it in a cup of coffee, a council said today.

A complaint was made to Trafford Council last May after the Rodent died following the purchase made by the 14-year-old girl at the shop in Sale, Greater Manchester.



The council responded by sending a 14-year-old boy to Majors Pets to make a test purchase of a goldfish which was sold without his age being questioned or providing any information about the care of the fish.



An animal welfare officer present also noticed a cockatiel in the store in Ashfield Road that appeared to be in distress.



A veterinary surgeon examined the bird and found it had a broken leg and eye problems. It later had to be put down.



Shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, and her son, Mark, 47, pleaded guilty at Trafford Magistrates' Court to causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel and selling an animal to a person under the age of 16 unaccompanied by an adult.



Mrs Higgins was fined £1,000 and ordered to abide by a curfew to stay in her house between 6pm and 7am for the next seven weeks because she was unfit for community work.



Her son, who manages the shop, was fined £750 and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work for the community.



Head of Public Protection at Trafford Council, Iain Veitch said: "The evidence presented for this conviction clearly demonstrates that it is irresponsible to sell animals to those who are not old enough to look after them.



"We have many responsible pet shops in the borough who provide adequate advice and care for animals. However, let this conviction send out a message that we will not tolerate those who cause unnecessary suffering to animals.



"The council will always try to support pet and business owners so that they are able to care for their animals properly, but where they continually ignore the advice they are given, we will not hesitate to use our statutory powers."