News Pet Shop Targeted For Selling Puppies



Pet shop targeted for selling puppies
16th September 2013

by Sandra Pearce

A Chelmsford pet shop has been singled out by animal rights protestors for selling livestock, while a Pets at Home store less than two miles away has been ignored.

Michele Pawsey, 48, who has owned Aquapets since she was 18, said Essex Animal Defenders began picketing her store in May, and have been almost every week, protesting outside and handing out leaflets. At times they have worn animal masks to hide their identities, and on at least one occasion hurled insults at an 83-year-old customer.

Michele said: “They say they are against the sale of wild-caught animals, which I am too. I have tried talking to them, but they say they do not have to answer to me, or just put their hands up in my face.”

Aquapets sells small animals, fish, birds, reptiles, kittens and puppies; her kittens and puppies are from locals, most of whom she visits herself.

Essex Animal Defenders spokesperson Marcia Hagon, who travels about 18 miles from Romford to the store, told Essex Chronicle: “Some pet owners were not sure about the sources where Aquapets are getting their animals from, but really we’re here about the pet shop trade, puppy farming and the conditions in which the animals are kept.”

Police have been called but say they cannot move the ‘peaceful protest’ on. A customer, however, was arrested after getting into an argument with the group.

Michele added: “I am getting more used to it, and a lot of my customers return when the group is not here.” The group knows the law and how not to cross the line, she adds. “Does anyone know of a way to stop them? They’ve told me they won’t stop until my shop is closed. But I do not intend to stop. We are not doing anything wrong.”