BREAKING: Zoo issued with formal closure notice

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Dalton Safari Zoo. 05/10/2015 JON GRANGER
Dalton Safari Zoo. 05/10/2015 JON GRANGER
31 March 2017 9:37AM

THE Dalton Zoo at the centre of a damning government inspection has been issued with a formal closure notice.

After earlier denying an application to renew the zoo's licence, it has made this additional order.

The zoo can remain open temporarily pending a review by its founder David Gill.

Earlier this afternoon committee members on Barrow Borough Council's licensing and regulatory subcommittee were unanimous in their decision to refuse the application.

This decision comes after shocking allegations came to light over the welfare and treatment of the animals in the park.

A report labelled conditions at the park as some of the worst seen in more than 60 years. It also listed numerous failings at a managerial level.

David Gill, the founder of the zoo was not present at today's hearing.

His lawyer, Steve Walker of Livingstons Solicitors said his client 'does not want to run this zoo anymore'.

During the hearing, committee members heard of the 'poor standard of animal husbandry' which took place at the park.

As the animal death list was read out to councillors, they were told how the figures demonstrated a clear picture of 'poor standards of animal husbandry.'

Before the list was read out, the Born Free Foundation addressed the hearing, claiming the problems at the zoo are 'fundamental' and cannot be fixed with a new licence.

Concerns have also been raised by the leading police officer in the South Lakes.

Superintendent Rob O'Connor of Cumbria Police said he has 'serious concerns' over the zoo's firearms policy.

He believes there are not not enough staff at the zoo with a firearms licence to deal with an escaped animal.

At the start of the meeting, there was a last ditch attempt by Mr Gill's legal team to halt today's proceedings, however, councillors rejected this, saying they will make a decision today.

His legal representative said he had not been given enough time to read an 800 page document prepared before the hearing.

He added that as the zoo is managed by a new company animal welfare us not an issue and it should go ahead at the same time as The Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd application in May. But councillors took a few minutes to discuss the application for adjournment in private and decided to go ahead.

Councillors said David Gill had 'every opportunity to attend today's hearing' and all protocols were followed.

The chairman, Tony Callister said: "The application for adjournment is refused. All protocols have been adhered to. David Gill has had every opportunity to attend today's meeting."

Read more about the allegations which have shocked the people of Furness:

A report into the welfare of animals at the Dalton zoo has revealed how hundreds of animals have died in just four years

A new company has pledged animal welfare as its top priority

Just who owns Dalton zoo? We answer that question, and others in a handy explainer

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Ms   S , Carlisle Monday, 13 March, 2017 at 11:57AM
Shut it down. Save the animals. Ridiculous this place has been open for as long as it has. It doesn't care about conservation or any of the rubbish it said on it's website. I've never been and I'm glad! These animals need rehomed in specialist centres were they can live out the remainder of their lives as happily as possible.
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Ian   Hutchinson , Whitehaven Saturday, 11 March, 2017 at 3:10PM
John, there's a big difference between Natural world and human Cruelty. Glad I stood my ground and refused to take my kids to gawp at creatures which do not belong in cages or even in this country for that matter , it's cruel whichever way you look at it.
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Ian   Hutchinson , Whitehaven Friday, 10 March, 2017 at 8:55AM
Remain open??? Like anybody in their right mind would visit there now after all this, just close the place down and end the pain and suffering of these beautiful creatures NOW!!
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Phil   Gilpin , Carlisle Wednesday, 08 March, 2017 at 1:06PM
If Gill, doesn't want to run or own the zoo, then he has a duty of care to the animals, otherwise the animals need transferred to other zoo's to receive the right level of care. Gill should be investigated for animal cruelty and held accountable for all unexplained and unnecessary animal deaths
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Jonny   Ellis , Lancaster Tuesday, 07 March, 2017 at 11:08AM
The primary concern should be for the animals and securing a new home for them, wherever that might be. The secondary matter should be that of prosecution. I believe its in the communities interest to know immediately what the plans are to protect those beautiful and incredible animals.
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Rick   Mcleod , Cumbria Tuesday, 07 March, 2017 at 10:16AM
Shouldnt Mr Gill be prosecuted anyway by the RSPCA etc since the evidence is now in hand of animal cruelty? He should lose his estate which will be worth a mini fortune. Given a chance, I'd be prepared to take over running the zoo with the right team, which would not include previous employees of current or past companies.
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George   Stevens , Barrow Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 10:48PM
One of the worst things he did (and which is never mentioned) was to go on camera in May 2013 the day after the tragedy and say that people (i.e. staff members) sometimes make mistakes. He did not at the time know the full story of what happened, but thought he'd deflect any blame from himself. That is unforgivable.
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wally   winker , Barrow-in-Furness Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 9:36PM
Please tell me this nightmare of suffering is over for those poor animals ? Elizabeth Banks, wake up & smell the coffee, these people have been part of this ongoing lie & should be considered part of the problem Not a solution ! & for Gods sake review Mr Gills Gun Licence ?
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terry   dickson , barrow in furness Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 8:35PM
Shut the gates and throw away the key. This dreadful zoo must not be allowed to operate, where else in the world is this type of cruelty played out. Let us be honest, some of the zoo's animals are part of high profile breeding programs vetted by so called multi national organisations, surely they should have the biggest say in the participating zoo's suitability. Please stop this unnecessary loss of life and poor treatment of all the beautiful, beautiful magnificent creatures, because they are there through no choice of their own.
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john   Thomspon , Barrow in Furness Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 8:07PM
People realise in the wild, (fair enough they have freedom) lions often kill others young, nature is cruel, isn't he just playing by the rules here? things are not covered in cotton in the wild, Hyenas eat prey alive. Seems a lot of opinions are kids gloves
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Jane   Warren , Dalton Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 7:34PM
Barrow Council again egotistical idiots, let's wait and see how many people will be happy when rates go up to cover what they lose from the zoo and how many business now close. It is a ghost town here anyway the only reason anyone comes is the zoo all towns round here are rubbish with empty shops no and new ones. Let's see how the government cope having an extra 200 plus people unemployed what a joke this is.
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Lee   C , BARROW-IN-FURNESS Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 7:00PM
Another typical knee-jerk reaction from Barrow council!! Rather than work with the new owners to ensure one of Cumbria's biggest tourist attractions remains open, they would prefer to issue a closure notice and put peoples jobs and income at risk. And all this from a council who can't even manage a parking problem on Barrow Island where the offenders are openly mocking them!!
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sue   jones , dalton Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 4:54PM
I just hope that this does not mean a death sentence for all the animals at the zoo.
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Elizabeth Ann   Banks , Dalton in Furness Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 4:41PM
Could the new owners not be given time to bring the Zoo up to standard before closing it down?. Would be such a shame to lose it.
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Shadow   Dancer , Somewhere over the Rainbow Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 5:32PM
There are no 'new owners'. The 'new' team are employees who have been working for Gill for some years. It's 2017, zoos should be banned. Animals kept in tiny enclosures while another species gawps at them?
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Joanna   Bentley , Cumbria Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 5:16PM
they are not new owners - they are the same team that has been under the zoo founder for years
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Thomas   Bland , Barrow Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 2:18PM
Mr Gill Should have sold it to Tesco.........They have no problem in getting license!!!!!
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Steve   Taylor , Ulverston Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 1:49PM
As David Gill has now admitted Kadi the tiger cub was killed at the park and they covered it up, will he now be prosecuted ? (It was all in the Times newspaper on Sunday) Also Karen Brewer told me personally Kadi had been moved to a new Zoo.. Does this mean she knew the truth also ? Killing an endangered species is a criminal offence ??
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  Stuart   Jones , Kendal Monday, 06 March, 2017 at 10:48AM
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