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Arrest and £1k fine...for saving doomed goldfish

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by lisa0307, May 13, 2010.

  1. lisa0307

    lisa0307 PetForums VIP

    Aug 25, 2009
    Likes Received:
    WHEN animal lover Clive Roberts saw a hospital’s ornamental pool being drained, he feared for the fate of its 60 goldfish.

    The 58-year-old NHS volunteer took great care to rescue them and transfer them to the pond in his *garden before any harm could come to them.

    But rather than being thanked for his public spiritedness, he was threatened with arrest, prosecution and a £1,000 fine.

    Environment Agency officials say he broke the law by moving the fish from their habitat without a licence.

    They claimed his rescue at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, breached laws designed to stop fish disease being spread.

    Window cleaner Mr Roberts said: “It is ridiculous. The pond was being drained for maintenance work.

    “They would have died if I hadn’t got them out.

    “The plan was to return them in six weeks when the work is finished.

    “But I’ve been told I could be prosecuted. It seems a bit unfair when all I was trying to do was help.”

    Officials claim Mr Roberts, of Adamsdown, Cardiff, should have spent a month applying for a licence, to comply with the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 2006.

    But he said: “This was an emergency. The fish were already distressed by the falling water level when I took them out. They didn’t have 30 days.”

    Mr Roberts was warned he would be interviewed under caution by Environment Agency investigators and should seek legal representation.

    The maximum fine is £1,000 and his legal bill could be as high as £600.

    Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It is clearly absurd and unfair to threaten someone with the full force of the law for an innocent and harmless mistake.

    “The sad result of this case is that this gentleman will in future think twice before volunteering to help the community.”

    An Environment Agency spokesman yesterday said it was looking into the matter.

    Today an additional statement was released saying: "Moving fish short distances between garden ponds is not an offence, as it does not present a significant risk to the environment. The Environment Agency does not investigate such incidents.

    "In situations where fish need to be moved at short notice we can offer help and advice, and would be happy to advise the hospital on the best way to maintain a healthy stock of fish."


    Express.co.uk - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: Arrest and £1k fine...for saving doomed goldfish
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