Pet shop owner baffled by animal rights protest
The owner of an Essex pet store, targeted by a protest from animal rights activists, claims his customers have “nothing but praise” for him.
A group called the Essex Animal Defenders held banners and sang chants outside the Aquatic Pet and Reptile Centre in Maldon High Street.
The campaigners say pet shops keep animals in confined spaces for long periods of time and that selling them for profit is unethical.
A spokesman for the group, who would not be named, said: “We believe the sale of dogs and cats in particular is unethical even by well-run shops because there are thousands of unwanted pets languishing in rescue centres all around the country.
“Many are destroyed. We urge anyone wanting a companion animal to save one of these animals instead of buying one.
“We received a few negative comments, mainly from neighbouring businesses, but also received some support from the public on the street.”
Kerry Beney, who opened the centre last November, said he was baffled by the protest as he had not received any complaints before.
He told his local newspaper, the Maldon Standard: “I can understand objections to importing animals from around the world, and from places like puppy farms, but every single animal in my shop is homebred.
“We’re an independent trader under licence from Maldon District Council, and each time we bring in a new animal we go through rigorous checks and inspections before being given permission to have them.”
Regarding the sale of puppies, the shop has up to six at once, all of which are sourced from local breeders.
Mr Beney added: “The puppy pen we have is actually bigger than what the council specifies.
“We’ve had nothing but praise and positive feedback for our animals and products, it really was a surprise when protestors turned up.
“I didn’t engage with them, and after a while I phoned the police, and as soon as they saw I was on the phone they left.”