Animal lover wants to keep leopards in his garden

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The Independent Online

An animal lover has sparked outrage among some of his neighbours by applying to keep endangered leopards and other meat-eating wild animals in his back garden.

Todd Dalton wants to keep a clouded leopard and a baby leopard - if born - in a cage in Peckham, south London, as part of a breeding programme to protect the species. His application under the Dangerous and Wild Animals Act also requests permission to keep other wild cats, including an ocelot and a margay, Southwark Council said.

However, his bid has caused a storm of protest from neighbours who fear the mammals could escape and pose a threat to pets and even people and held a meeting last night to express their displeasure.

A City of London Corporation vet has cleared Mr Dalton's cages as "suitable", but a licensing sub-committee at Southwark will make the final decision. A spokeswoman said the committee would take the views of the vet, the RSPCA and a police wildlife crime unit into consideration when looking at the application.

The RSPCA said it was "extremely concerned" that clouded leopards - which can weigh up to 50lb - might be kept in a garden in a busy residential area of London.