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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have emailed the council and they have rang back and all i wanted was information he did give me the info but just to double check with yourselves first thing he said would be that this council will not issue a licence unless it is a detatched property he then stated that i would need to pay a hospital to store any antivenom at 1500 a month an i aint to sure that is true he spoke about these two in length i then explained my experience he said that would go in your favour and also he said i would need to do a course a dwa handling course can anyone vouch for this
 

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Sounds like your council doesn't want you to have them, and they're asking for things that will put you off. I've heard of councils asking for them to be housed in detached property in the past, but I've never heard of having to pay for antivenom and storage before.

Can they insist you have training, or is that just another way of putting people off? If they can, who's the one to say, 'this man is qualified', and who decides where the course should be taken, and if the people running the course are themselves qualified to do so?

I'd just move to another area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ye i have heard in the past that councils have tried and tried to put people of so is there nobody in this area sandwel that has got a dwa licence an he mentioned the vet would have the final say as i have not heard of that before either
 

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Best person to ask is Chris Newman he will give you advise and all the ins and outs the council can do ect pm.him
 
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The day to day administration of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act resides with the Local Authority (Council) of the area in which the applicant resides. In considering an application the LA are entitled to attach any conditions that are reasonable and proportionate, this is a very important point which is often over looked. Conditions must be reasonable and proportionate.

It is not reasonable, proportionate or indeed desirable for keepers of venomous snakes to hold supplies of antiserum, either in their possession or stored elsewhere. Antiserum is stored in London and Liverpool and if required can be dispatched to any part of the UK.

What is reasonable and proportionate if the a LA to attach a condition to a license stating that you should inform in writing the local hospital that you are keeping venomous and what species you are keeping, thus they have a record should an accident happen.

I hope this helps…..!!
 

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Legalities

First and foremost, I would suggest that you download the DWAA from the DEFRA website and read it.
What they are asking for is not LEGAL.
You DO NOT have to pay anything to any hospital to store antivenom. Antivenom held at Guys, LSTP and one of two other which will transport the antivenom to your local hospital (if required)
Additionally, you AR NTO required LEGALLY, to do any form of handling course, DWA or otherwise.
They are trying, as someone else says, put obstacles in your way to put you off.

If you want to email me personally, (I have held a DWA licence for the last 15 years) please feel free on my IHS email address.

Alan. IHS EDITOR / Secretary.
 

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The day to day administration of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act resides with the Local Authority (Council) of the area in which the applicant resides. In considering an application the LA are entitled to attach any conditions that are reasonable and proportionate, this is a very important point which is often over looked. Conditions must be reasonable and proportionate.

It is not reasonable, proportionate or indeed desirable for keepers of venomous snakes to hold supplies of antiserum, either in their possession or stored elsewhere. Antiserum is stored in London and Liverpool and if required can be dispatched to any part of the UK.

What is reasonable and proportionate if the a LA to attach a condition to a license stating that you should inform in writing the local hospital that you are keeping venomous and what species you are keeping, thus they have a record should an accident happen.

I hope this helps…..!!
Chris, this is an interesting case and a great reply. To further add to what you said about informing the hospital. we supplied the hospital with a protocol document of the species we kept, in the event of a bite, anyone from the hospital could pull the document and know how to treat. a copy of the document was kept in the property where the animal was kept.

So progressing on, would it be worth the OP writing a letter to the council informing them that their conditions are not reasonable and proportionate?

How would you suggest they progress from there?

Rob.
 

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Chris, this is an interesting case and a great reply. To further add to what you said about informing the hospital. we supplied the hospital with a protocol document of the species we kept, in the event of a bite, anyone from the hospital could pull the document and know how to treat. a copy of the document was kept in the property where the animal was kept.

So progressing on, would it be worth the OP writing a letter to the council informing them that their conditions are not reasonable and proportionate?

How would you suggest they progress from there?

Rob.

What I have been pushing for years is for Defra issuing guidance to Local Authorities on the administration of the Act. Whilst the day to day administration is down to the LA the ultimate reasonability for the Act resides with Defra at Bristol, and Defra should issue clear, concise guidelines to LA’s on how to administer the Act.

We should have standard procedures in place, downloadable documents that clearly set out what needs to be done when applying for a licence, i.e. inform the local hospital, police and fire brigade. We should have downloadable guidance on minimum housing and safety requirements for at least the common species kept.

A few years ago Defra did in fact convene a Working Group to draft guidance, we spent nearly two years putting it all together and it has subsequently languished on a shelf gathering dust – very frustrating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So is the detached property a must, or is a terraced house suitable a flat suitable if all enclosure would have a lock, and a door to the room would have a lock.
 

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Well put Chris. To the OP I would write them a letter stating that their requirements are not proportionate or reasonable and that you will be seeking legal advice on the issue unless it is resolved. I had an issue with the council over council tax, their fault as they had not registered us as exempt due to being postgrad students, and they issued me and my girlfriend with a court summons. As soon as we got my girl friends mother, a partner of a law firm, involved and they sent a headed letter to the council, the summons was dropped and a discount was given to us on any future council tax that we may be liable to pay in the next year or so.

All of those conditions are unreasonable in my opinion. Suggesting that you pay for antivenom to be held at an NHS hospital is the same as asking smokers or the obese, etc, to pay for their treatment. It is completely against entire point of an NHS.

I have not got a DWAL, but may consider it when I am in a position to do so. I hope that by then there are sensible guidelines regarding conditions, security, husbandry, fees and conditions for councils to follow by then, if I do ever apply for a licence. The only effect that stupid conditions and fees are going to have is that more people will keep DWA animals illegally. It is a completely counterproductive measure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have now wrote a letter mentioning we're he was wrong after reading the dwaa and waiting On a reply so soon as I hear something I will let all you intelligent folk know thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
email

Thank you for your email. I have attached the application form, which you can print, complete and return to the address provided. I will reiterate that you pay the fee for making the application and having your application assessed, not for receiving a licence, so I would suggest that if you want to proceed you should discuss your proposed setup with us as you go along rather than getting everything set up, making the application, and then finding that things need to be changed - this will potentially save you time and money. The local authority inspection fee is £73.10, and veterinary fees are payable in addition, which will depend on the amount of time required for the inspection. Because of this, a first inspection might be likely to be more expensive than any subsequent inspection, which are now conducted at two yearly intervals.

Please could you forward to me the email that you received from DEFRA, or the name of the officer that sent it to you? To clarify, it is not DEFRA that are responsible for issuing a licence under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act or for enforcing its requirements, and so while they may have given you advice, in the first instance it is the local authority that would decide what conditions are appropriate and reasonable in relation to any individual licence that we might issue. Please be aware that the primary purpose of the legislation is to protect the public from risks arising from the keeping of dangerous wild animals, which includes the persons keeping them as well as the public at large. If we can be reasonably satisfied that these risks can and will be adequately controlled, then there is no reason why a licence would not be issued. There can be very significant consequences to getting it wrong, which is why we take it seriously. Ultimately, if the local authority refused your application for a licence, then you could appeal to the Magistrate's Court. The Court would then decide whether to grant the licence on the basis of the evidence put before them. First part
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
part 2

I think you may have misinterpreted some of my comments during our discussion yesterday. The position that we would take in relation to antivenom is that we would need to be satisfied that an appropriate antivenom would be available within a reasonable period of time. While Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine may hold appropriate antivenom, the question that has to be answered is whether it would be available to you or any other individual that needed it, in a real and practical sense. I will speak to the LSTM venoms unit, firstly to establish whether they hold an appropriate antivenom for Bothriechis schlegelii venom, and in what quantities, and secondly to ascertain how it could be made available to a local hospital, and how quickly. Clearly, if they do not hold an appropriate antivenom, or it could not be made available to you (or not quickly enough for the clinical need) then this would not be satisfactory and you would need to make other arrangements. This might extend to keeping antivenom locally (whether at a hospital or at your own premises). It is my understanding that this can entail significant cost, and you might not necessarily be able to expect that the NHS would meet any or all of these costs (there are many examples where the NHS does not meet the cost of treatment, for instance in relation to some travel vaccines). It is worth noting that other establishments housing venomous species within the West Midlands carry their own stocks of antivenom - e.g. West Midlands Safari Park. While there are obvious differences between the Safari Park and a hobbyist keeper, the hazards and level of risk associated with handling venomous snakes will be similar, as will the need for treatment with antivenom if envenomation does occur.

As we discussed yesterday, the environment (both the enclosure and the premises) would need to be appropriate for the proposed species, both from a welfare point of view and from a public safety point of view. I have advised you that it would be very unlikely that Sandwell Council would issue a licence for any DWA species for a flat, apartment, or other accommodation with common parts. This is because there is a significantly greater risk of harm to the wider public (e.g. if an animal were to escape its enclosure) than if they were kept in a single dwelling. While I would agree that in most circumstances this is extremely unlikely to occur, there is a balance to be found between allowing you to carry on your hobby, and protecting the public. In addition, if you live in local authority housing as a tenant you would need to check with housing services whether keeping DWA species was acceptable under your tenancy agreement, including in relation to any alterations that you might need to make to the property.

In relation to experience and training, we would want to be satisfied that you had significant experience of the welfare and handling of snakes in general, in particular of non-DWA species that might be considered an introduction to the handling of DWA species, and also that you had specific experience of handling DWA species. It would be preferable that you have experience of the specific species that you wished to keep, however we appreciate that this might not always be possible. This does not necessarily mean that you must have attended a formal training course, however that might be one way in which you could satisfy this requirement. We would want this experience to be documented and verifiable, and we would expect you to be able to demonstrate your knowledge of the species' requirements for welfare, handling etc during pre-inspection discussions, and the inspection.

There is a useful guidance booklet provided in Northern Ireland that, while not directly applicable to England, may provide some idea of what would be required in terms of environment. It can be downloaded from the following link: www.doeni.gov.uk/niea/snakesa5leaflet.pdf. Ultimately, the environment that you provide would be assessed during the licence inspection by an officer of the local authority and a veterinary surgeon. For the purpose of the inspection we would use a vet with experience of exotics. There are a number in the local area with relevant experience and expertise.

A strict requirement for public liability insurance is detailed in the legislation, and you would be expected to provide your certificate of insurance at the time of inspection.

I am happy to discuss any of these matters further if you would like.

Kind regards,

Tom Whitaker MCIEH MSc MSci
Environmental Health Practitioner
 

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Chris Newman will be able to give you more insight, but by the sounds of it, they really don't want to issue you a license (just my opinion, based on the emails).

They seem to be very strict about the availability of antivenom, which is kind of understandable. However, antivenom availability isn't part of the DWAA. If they can insist on antivenom being available, it would possibly limit the species you can keep, as there are a number of species for which there is no antivenom, or antivenom that's only suitable for specific locales - the Naja naja, for example. I believe most (if not all) in the UK are from Pakistan or Sri Lanka, and the antivenom for those locales are ineffective at best. Also, there are species which could have you on your back before you even get to the hospital, and there's always the chance of an allergic reaction.

You cannot be refused care, just because your hobby isn't mainstream - even heroin addicts receive free medical care when they overdose, decide to quit, or contract HIV. The NHS has a duty to provide people with the care they need, regardless of how or what caused it. This includes treatment for venomous snake bites, just as it would for any other injuries sustained during other hobbies or recreational activities - makes me wonder what they would ask for if you were wanting to keep a croc. No antivenom for one of those bad boys.

Chris, can they insist on some sort of training before a license is issued?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
dwa

Maybe he has mentioned eyelash viper for that reason the antivenom maybe hard to come by an I don't know what else to do shall I just do my best to set up the room take a good few weeks and then reply with the application form and when the inspection date woul. Of been set get insurance it's not a must for me but just I have worked with them in the past and I enjoy working with them
 

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If you own the house you live in or have written permission from your landlord, I can't see any reason why they could refuse the application based on the property not being detached.
 
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