Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Fife Animal Park owner faces animal welfare charges

Fife Animal Park
Image caption Peter Lockhart was the co-owner of the Fife Animal Park, Cupar, which closed in February after it could not be sold

A zoo owner is facing animal welfare charges including leaving an emu suffering from a beak ulcer.

Peter Lockhart was the co-owner of the Fife Animal Park, Cupar, which closed in February after it could not be sold.

Mr Lockhart faces allegations of causing animals unnecessary suffering and failing to ensure their welfare.

It is alleged between 24 January 2013 and 14 February 2014 Mr Lockhart failed to provide animals with a "suitable, clean and ventilated environment".

He is also accused of buying lemurs, tortoises, marmosets and wildcats without permission.

Prosecutors at Dundee Sheriff Court said Mr Lockhart also displayed and offered for sale three Hermann's tortoises at the park between 27 June 2010 and 14 February 2014.

Three further charges accused Lockhart of failing to apply and identify three animals - including a zebra - at the park with "horse passports".

Suffering and disease

He is further alleged to have failed to provide adequate bedding and a suitable balanced and varied diet, failing to provide treatment from conditions they were suffering from and failing to protect the animals from injury, suffering and disease.

Another allegation states that he failed to provide sufficient nutrition to two Hermann's tortoises, while a third alleges he failed to provide treatment to an emu for ulceration to its beak as well as failing to provide it with "a suitable environment or exposure to external stimuli".

Further charges claim he bought and displayed "for commercial gain" two ring-tailed lemurs, one red-ruffed lemur, two black and white-ruffed lemurs, five Swinhoe's pheasants, an eagle owl, two barn owls, two wildcats, a Lesser Sulphone Crested cockatoo and a Geoffrey's marmoset without authority to do so.

Mr Lockhart, 50, from Newton of Falkland, Fife, faces a total of 16 charges under the Animal Health and Welfare Act, the Control of Trade in Endangered Species Regulations and the Horse Identification (Scotland) Regulations.

Image caption The park was put up for sale in 2013 but the sale was blocked by the charity regulator

Defence solicitor Amy Fox said Mr Lockhart was not yet in a position to enter a plea in the case.

Sheriff Charles Macnair QC continued the case without plea for three weeks for discussions between the Crown and defence lawyers.

Fife Animal Park closed to the public in February. The 10-acre park housed 76 species including a zebra, Shetland ponies, meerkats, raccoons and owls.

The park was put up for sale in 2013, but this was blocked by the charity regulator as it wanted to clarify which animals were owned by the Fife Animal Trust.

Shortly after its closure, Fife Council's protective services senior manager Roy Stewart said: "The welfare of the animals at Fife Animal Park is our primary concern at this time.

"Although Fife Council doesn't own the park or the animals it has a duty to protect them and legally they are now in our care."

Shortly after its closure nine wallabies and an emu were adopted by the Five Sisters Zoo in West Calder.

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