A ZOO owner was yesterday 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.
Lockhart, 50, of Glen Newton, Newton of Falkland, Fife, had faced 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.
But Sheriff Tom Hughes instead fined Lockhart £2000 and disqualified him from keeping animals for five years.
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.
The court was told Fife Council had taken control of the premises and raised concerns around the welfare and display of certain species, including an emu kept in a windowless room and tortoises kept in squalid and inappropriate conditions.
Lockhart admitted he “failed to provide a suitable, clean and ventilated environment with adequate cover and bedding”.
He also failed to provide a suitable diet for the animals or adequate treatment for conditions that they were suffering from, or protect them from injury, suffering or disease.
Lockhart further admitted breaching strict control of trade in endangered species regulations. He admitted he displayed ring-tailed lemurs, a Geoffrey’s marmoset and two wild cats, among others.
Lockhart had faced a total of 16 charges, but 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.