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Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

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Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by justagrannynow 1 on 31.03.10 8:05

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1262250/Pet-shop-owner-sold-goldfish-boy-hauled-court-ordered-wear-electronic-tag.html


Pet shop owner fined £1,000 and told to wear an electronic tag... for selling a GOLDFISH to a boy aged 14

By Jaya Narain
Last updated at 7:45 AM on 31st March 2010

* Comments (279)

JOAN HIGGINS

Seven-week curfew: Joan Higgins has to wear an electronic tag

Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards 'sting'.

At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.

Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew - and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.

The punishment is normally handed out to violent thugs and repeat offenders.

The prosecution of Mrs Higgins and her son Mark is estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,000 and has left her with a criminal record.

Mark, 47, was also fined and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Last night, as an MP criticised the magistrates, Mrs Higgins - who has run the pet shop for 28 years - said the family's eight-month ordeal had left them traumatised.

She added: 'It's ridiculous. I mean, what danger am I that I have to wear an electronic tag? These last few months have been a very stressful time.'

The seven-week curfew imposed by the court means she is unable to babysit her great-grandson at his home or go to bingo sessions with her sister, and will be unable to attend a Rod Stewart concert after tickets were bought for her by her nephew, actor Will Mellor.
Joan and Mark Higgins

Joan Higgins, 66, and her son Mark, 47, have both been ordered to pay fines after selling a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy

Her son said: 'I think it's a farce. What gets me so cross is that they put my Mum on a tag - she's nearly 70, for goodness' sake.

'She's a great-grandma so she won't be able to babysit a newborn baby. You would think they have better things to do with their time and money.'

Mr Higgins claimed the undercover operation was a clear case of entrapment - when a person is encouraged by someone in some official capacity to commit a crime - and said the case should never have gone to court.

He said: 'The council sent the 14-year-old in to us. It is hard to tell how old a lad is these days. He looked much older than 14.'

He added that his mother almost fainted in the dock when magistrates told her she could go to prison for the offence.

'I told her they wouldn't send her to prison but she was still worried,' he said. 'The only other time she has been in court is when she did jury service.'


Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is illegal to sell pets - including goldfish - to children under the age of 16 unless they are accompanied by an adult. Pet shops must also provide advice on animal welfare to buyers.

The maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to 12 months, or a fine of up to £20,000, or both.

The Higgins family's ordeal began when council officials heard that Majors Pet Shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, was selling animals to children.

They sent the 14-year-old schoolboy into the shop to carry out a test purchase and Mr Higgins sold him the goldfish without questioning his age or providing any information about the care of the fish.

A council officer in the shop at the time also noticed a cockatiel in a cage that appeared to be in a poor state of health. A vet found the bird had a broken leg and eye problems. It was later put down.
Enlarge p4graphic


Mrs Higgins and her son were charged with selling the fish to a person aged under 16 and with causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment.

Pleading guilty, Mrs Higgins told Trafford magistrates the cockatiel had not been for sale and she had been bathing its eye daily.


She had intended to take it to the vet but had been distracted and worried because her other son was in hospital.

The court heard that Mrs Higgins had possessed a licence to sell animals for many years and had never had any problems before.

She was fined £1,000 and given a community order with a curfew requiring her to stay home between 6pm and 7am for seven weeks.

Mrs Higgins did not have her licence to sell animals removed, but both she and her son were told that if they ever appeared in court for a similar offence they could face a jail sentence.

David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, said: 'You simply couldn't make it up. It is absolutely ludicrous that old ladies should be hounded through the courts and electronically tagged for something like this.
Pugh Hes In For Aiding and Abetting.jpg

'At a time when courts are being told not to lock up career burglars we have them issuing severe punishments like this on little old ladies.' Mr Davies, who has served as a special constable for three years, said: 'Not only is it traumatic for her but it is a complete waste of time and taxpayers' money. It is ridiculous.

'Instead of getting 14-year-old boys to act in this type of sting they should have them trying to nail people who sell drugs outside our schools.'

Trafford Council said it launched an investigation after an unsubstantiated complaint that the shop had sold a gerbil to a 14-year-old girl with learning disabilities. The council claimed the animal later died after the child placed it in a disposable coffee cup with a plastic lid on top.

But the complaint did not form part of the legal action in court and its truth cannot be verified.

Mrs Higgins said the shop had not stocked gerbils for months before the complaint anyway.

Defending the goldfish case, Iain Veitch, head of public protection at Trafford Council, 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.

'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.'

The goldfish was later adopted by an animal welfare officer and is in good health.



Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1262250/Pet-shop-owner-sold-goldfish-boy-hauled-court-ordered-wear-electronic-tag.html#ixzz0jjegR3V7

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by vaguely1 on 31.03.10 8:16

utterly ridiculous.

It's not like selling a puppy or kitten to a 10 year old or something......which of course should be an office.

It's a bloody fish!

Did they even take the bird in to account, or is this just for the fish?

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by vaguely1 on 31.03.10 8:18

ETA, in the photo of the shop, the main sign outside says she sells fishing tackle and bait.

sorry, struck me as funny.

It's alright to hook them out of the water, bash em to death and eat them!! Just as long as you don't sell them to a teenager.

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by justagrannynow 1 on 31.03.10 8:30

Don't know vaguely. The way I read it the charge related to the goldfish only and the bird was used as evidence of animal neglect rather than breaking the law.

What happened to the days when goldfish were prizes at fairs? What about fish that are hauled out of the sea ? Are they not being ill treated?
What's the difference between a goldfish in a bowl, or salmon crammed together in a salmon farm? Is the former ill treated and not the other, and what about mice that are fed to birds of prey at flight exhibitions, or thrown to pet reptiles?

Finally, what about the worms and grubs pet shops sell to fishermen ?

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by justagrannynow 1 on 31.03.10 8:31

Just seen your second post vaguely. Couldn't agree more. The whole thing is crazy.

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by justagrannynow 1 on 31.03.10 8:35


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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by aiyoyo on 01.04.10 12:22

Bloody ridiculous. Britain's gone MAD!

Tagging a 70-year old granny because of a GOLDFISH when lots worst are roaming free at will!

Christ on a bike, what's Britain coming to.

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by vaguely1 on 01.04.10 12:33

It's gone o-fish-ially mad!"



Do you think I could get a job in the Sun headline department?

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by littlepixie on 02.04.10 7:24

It does seem a strange story but there are strict rules for the sale of all livestock. I have been licensed for many years and have to have regular inspections from the Environmental Health and RSPCA. The legal age for selling a goldfish used to be 12, then 14 then the RSPCA got it raised to 16. I campaigned for years against travelling fairs giving goldfish to children as prizes. These fish were kept for days suffocating in tiny plastic bags without filtration. I don't know whether this practice has been outlawed yet but it should be.
I think this woman was singled out because she had a cockatiel that was unwell in her shop and she should have been prosecuted for that - there is no excuse.

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by littlepixie on 02.04.10 7:29

Just read the bit about her being tagged - WTF is that about?? Why tag her? now that is bloody ridiculous.

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by littlepixie on 02.04.10 7:37

@justagrannynow 1 wrote:Don't know vaguely. The way I read it the charge related to the goldfish only and the bird was used as evidence of animal neglect rather than breaking the law.

What happened to the days when goldfish were prizes at fairs? What about fish that are hauled out of the sea ? Are they not being ill treated?
What's the difference between a goldfish in a bowl, or salmon crammed together in a salmon farm? Is the former ill treated and not the other, and what about mice that are fed to birds of prey at flight exhibitions, or thrown to pet reptiles?

Finally, what about the worms and grubs pet shops sell to fishermen ?

Your post struck a chord with me. I bred sheep and alpaca a few years ago. I was allowed to tag them, castrate them, dock their tails, micro-chip them - diagnose them and inject them with antibiotics - even kill them if I wanted to. I was allowed to do this because they are classed as food or farm animals. Can you imagine what would happen to me if I castrated or injected the dogs that I breed?

I also sell live crickets and mealworms as feed wow

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by justagrannynow 1 on 02.04.10 9:59

@littlepixie wrote:Just read the bit about her being tagged - WTF is that about?? Why tag her? now that is bloody ridiculous.

Hi littlepixie. The court wanted to issue a Community Service Order on the lady, but because of her age and ill health they were advised she was unsuitable, so decided to punish her with tagging instead.

I am all for the protection of animals, but I think this is way over the top. Cruelty is cruelty and should apply to all living creatures, not just some. I also think these sting operations are very iffy.

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by aiyoyo on 02.04.10 12:02

Issuing her with warnings and fine should suffice.

Tagging her is bloody ridiculously OTT. Who did she harm? So she was careless with some livestocks by selling to underage....not exactly the same as sex offenders is IT?

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by littlepixie on 02.04.10 12:05

It is ridiculous. OT but someone is making a lot of money out of tagging IMO as it is done by private companies who dont have a clue what the correct procedures are half the time.

What threat is this old lady to anyone?

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by kangdang on 02.04.10 12:56

by all accounts the lad was just short of 6ft tall

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by aiyoyo on 03.04.10 7:05

@littlepixie wrote:

What threat is this old lady to anyone?

EXACTEMENT. I'm surprised there isnt an uproar over that?

I put this at par with the equally ridiculous law of jailing homeowners who are not allowed to defense by shooting at burglars invading their home.

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Re: Tagged for selling goldfish to 14 year old

Post by vaguely1 on 03.04.10 9:20

You are allowed to defend yourself against intruders in your home - it's only shooting them in the back as they're leaving that's the issue.

At least with a law like that there's concern over humans coming to harm, as opposed to a ......fish.

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