Saturday, April 17, 2010
When You Think You've Heard It All...!
I picked up this story from the PTShamrock newsletter!
I guess this is another thing we have in store for us, sine the British have proven that it can be done so easily! This is almost beyond belief!
Pet shop owner fined GBP1,000 and told to wear an electronic tag...for selling a GOLDFISH to a boy aged 14-
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 GBP1,000, 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 GBP20,000 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.
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 GBP20,000, 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.
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.
Looks to me like Big Brother is everywhere! So all you folks getting ready to sell goldfish to under aged kids...better beware, because I'm sure that it won't be long before we have laws like this here in the U.S.!
That is, if we don't already have them, hidden somewhere in the massive bills that are being passed almost daily without being read!
I think it's time for some coffee on the patio. Wonder if I have to buy a license to gather here with my friends?