CROCODILES could be sold from a suburban property in Gloucester.
The city council has granted a pet shop licence to someone in the city, which includes enabling them to sell the snappy reptiles.
But red tape means the name and address of the person concerned have not been made public. Extensive enquiries by the Gloucester Citizen have so far drawn a blank, but it is believed to be in the Tuffley or Linden areas.
Worried councillors are calling for a change in the law on selling exotic animals because they’re worried about potential safety risks.
“The law on this is decades old and it needs updating,” said city councillor Lise Noakes. “When these laws were drawn up nobody envisaged selling animals like this.
“My view is that we should be going out to consult anyone in the neighbourhood about how we deal with a licence like this. We have looked at other areas - Cheltenham Borough Council does at least inform people after a licence is granted but really what’s the point?
“People should be consulted beforehand. Our officers have been through all the proper processes and have put in as many conditions as they can.
“I am sure there is no question it will be safe but should people be able to do this without letting others know it’s going on?”
When applying for a pet shop licence, applicants have to specify what sort of creatures they plan on stocking - and in this instance, crocodiles were included.
Residents are uneasy about the possibility of crocs in their neighbourhood.
“I’m not happy about it,” said Lyn Ackroyd of Linden Residents Association. “They say they will have licences and be kept under lock and key but I don’t think that’s enough. This is a residential area and what if something went wrong?”
A city council spokesman said a recent pet shop licence has been issued.
“The applicant has requested to sell crocodilians but informed the council that they cannot foresee this happening for two years as the enclosure has not been built,” he said. “The council has taken advice and attached conditions to their licence as a precaution for the foreseeable future.”
Conditions include that the indoor enclosure is inspected by the council and a vet carry out an inspection of the crocodiles.
Pilbara Reptiles in Seymour Road, Linden is already licensed to sell reptiles including dwarf crocodiles and alligators which can grow up to 5ft long.
Owner Chris Applin said there are very strict rules around selling and keeping them.
“It’s harder to get a Dangerous Wild Animals licence than a gun licence,” said Chris. “Which is as it should be. I really try to put people off from keeping animals like this at home.”
Anyone who wants to keep an animal like a crocodile as a pet at home would need a DWA licence.
Across Gloucestershire, some very varied creatures are being kept in otherwise unassuming homes.
Stroud District Council has granted DWA licences for venomous snakes in Stonehouse, Capuchin monkeys in Dursley and Asian short clawed otters in Frampton Mansell.
In Tewkesbury, someone is licensed to keep an Ostrich, as is another in the Cotswolds.
The district council there is also considering an application to keep a Zorse, a cross between a zebra and a horse.