The owner of an exotic and specialty pet store is set to tackle a slew of animal cruelty charges.
ichard Potter faces 15 counts under the Animal Welfare Act relating to his Cloughmills-based Jungle Pets business.
Court documents indicate that the 39-year-old is accused of violating the conditions of his pet store license by failing to house the animals in a way that will protect them from “suffering or distress”, despite reasonable warnings to the To do.
The charges claim Potter also wouldn’t have the pens cleaned to avoid cross-contamination and removed any droppings or uneaten food to prevent the attraction of vermin and the build-up of noxious gases.
He is also accused of failing to check the animals at least twice a day, including on days when the business is closed. Potter would also not have ensured that animals had free access to fresh, clean water at all times and that sick or injured animals were not offered for sale.
One charge also states that it failed to provide the correct lighting and times of darkness for animals kept on its premises.
It is also claimed that he allowed the premises to be managed by someone who did not have the appropriate experience or qualifications for the range of species on sale in the business.
Potter is further charged with two counts of illegal possession of a veterinary drug and one count of illegal administration of a veterinary drug.
All of the charges against him are dated between December 2019 and June 2020.
The case against Potter, whose company is located in a shopping complex off Frosses Road in the village of Co Antrim, was briefly raised in Coleraine Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
The case was adjourned.
Jungle Pets proclaims itself “Northern Ireland & Ireland’s No.1 Exotic Animal Hypermarket. 25 years of experience. Global imports supplying the northern parts of Co Antrim and Derry / Donegal.
His Facebook page also says “our shop has over 70 animals of alligators, crocodiles, monkeys, raccoons, big pythons and more!”.
In an article published on Christmas Eve, Potter thanked customers at the store, but said it has been a tough year for the exotic pet trade.
“Certainly it was probably the most difficult year in business I can remember,” he posted.
“Economically, things have changed… Brexit has been a major factor in our industry like many others.
“There will be many challenges to overcome in 2022.
“On a good note, we have opened our second store. Probably a crazy thing to do in these times but essential to serve the Northwest.
“So far everything has been fine, but only with your help!
“As a small, independent family business, we work incredibly hard both on the job and behind the scenes and this is only possible with your support!
“We thank all of our employees / friends. They have helped tremendously this year!
Sunday Life contacted Potter about the matter, but he declined to comment on the matter.