A ZOO owner was today banned from keeping animals after he admitted a string of welfare charges.
Peter Lockhart was the co-owner of the Fife Animal Park, near Cupar, which closed in February after its owners were unable to sell it.
But now he could face a prison term after he admitted failing to ensure the welfare of the animals in his park, as well as trading in endangered species without a licence.
Dundee Sheriff Court heard that for almost nine months leading up to the park’s closure Lockhart had failed to ensure the needs of the “fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, primates and rodents” within the park were met.
He admitted that he “failed to provide a suitable, clean and ventilated environment with adequate cover and bedding”.
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Lockhart also faile to privde a suitable diet for the nimals or adequate treatment for conditions that they were suffering from, or protect them from injury, suffering or disease.
The 50-year-old further admitted breaching strict Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations.
He admitted that he displayed ring-tailed lemurs, red ruffed lemurs, black and white ruffed lemurs, a Geoffrey’s marmoset, two wild cats, a Lesser Sulphon crested cockatoo and five Swinhoes pheasants for commercial purposes without a licence.
The court heard that Lockhart also displayed and offered for sale three Hermanns tortoises at the park between June 27 2010 and February 14 2014.
Lockhart, 50, of Glen Newton, Newton of Falkland, Fife, faced a total of 16 charges under the Animal Health and Welfare Act, the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations and the Horse Identification (Scotland) Regulations.
However, the Crown accepted his guilty pleas to nine of those charges and not guilty to seven, including charges of not having a horse passport for a zebra at the park.
Lockhart could have faced up to three months in jail for the licensing offences and up to six months for the offence under the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
But Sheriff Tom Hughes instead fined Lockhart POUNDS 2000 and was disqualified from keeping animals for five years.
Fife Animal Park closed to the public in February 2014. The 10-acre park housed 76 species including a zebra, Shetland ponies, meerkats, raccoons and owls.
The park was put up for sale in 2013, but this was blocked by the charity regulator, as it wanted to clarify which animals were owned by the Fife Animal Trust.
Shortly after its closure, Fife Council’s protective services senior manager Roy Stewart said: “The welfare of the animals at Fife Animal Park is our ?primary concern at this time.
“Although Fife Council doesn’t own the park or the animals it has a duty to protect them and legally they are now in our care.”
Shortly after its closure nine wallabies and an emu were adopted by the Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder.
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