Three Owls Bird Sanctuary has been forced to close. According to their website they received a letter from Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council telling them they had to obtain a zoo licence in order to continue to operate, despite the fact that the sanctuary and hospital are not a zoo!
The Rochdale Observer recently reported that the 'complaint' made about 3 Owls as an unlicenced zoo was made by (believe it or not) the Born Free Foundation. This information came from a council spokesperson. However, Littleborough (near Rochdale) resident Peter Reed contacted Born Free, whose legal department 'strongly refute any intention to close this or any other sanctuary or or animal hospital.' The charity did make enquiries about the licencing of 3 Owls and similar institutions but insist they did not complain about any of them.
Mr Reed's letter can be found in this morning's edition of the Rochdale Observer (Saturday edition), as well as others about the matter.
So it's the end of an era and we're not even sure exactly why! Whatever the truth, the closure of the sanctuary and hospital is causing unnecessary upheavel for all concerned: the birds are having to settle into new homes and the paid staff are now jobless. According to the website two are now even homeless!
A petition has been started with the intention of changing legislation so that other sanctuaries do not have to go through this situation. It can be found here: