Under 16, no fish.

Slug

Member
Outrageous. This boils my blood. Its ludacris and really not that serious. Its a pet yes, but at the end of the day its just a fish. Not only that but the law itself is stupid. I know many very mature and responsible aquarists under the age of 16, we have many here on FL.

Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards 'sting'.
At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.
Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew - and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.
The punishment is normally handed out to violent thugs and repeat offenders.
The prosecution of Mrs Higgins and her son Mark is estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,000 and has left her with a criminal record.
Mark, 47, was also fined and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Last night, as an MP criticised the magistrates, Mrs Higgins - who has run the pet shop for 28 years - said the family's eight-month ordeal had left them traumatised.

She added: 'It's ridiculous. I mean, what danger am I that I have to wear an electronic tag? These last few months have been a very stressful time.'
The seven-week curfew imposed by the court means she is unable to babysit her great-grandson at his home or go to bingo sessions with her sister, and will be unable to attend a Rod Stewart concert after tickets were bought for her by her nephew, actor Will Mellor.

Her son said: 'I think it's a farce. What gets me so cross is that they put my Mum on a tag - she's nearly 70, for goodness' sake.
'She's a great-grandma so she won't be able to babysit a newborn baby. You would think they have better things to do with their time and money.'
Mr Higgins claimed the undercover operation was a clear case of entrapment - when a person is encouraged by someone in some official capacity to commit a crime - and said the case should never have gone to court.

He said: 'The council sent the 14-year-old in to us. It is hard to tell how old a lad is these days. He looked much older than 14.'
He added that his mother almost fainted in the dock when magistrates told her she could go to prison for the offence.
'I told her they wouldn't send her to prison but she was still worried,' he said. 'The only other time she has been in court is when she did jury service.'

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is illegal to sell pets - including goldfish - to children under the age of 16 unless they are accompanied by an adult. Pet shops must also provide advice on animal welfare to buyers.
The maximum penalty is imprisonment for up to 12 months, or a fine of up to £20,000, or both.
The Higgins family's ordeal began when council officials heard that Majors Pet Shop in Sale, Greater Manchester, was selling animals to children.
They sent the 14-year-old schoolboy into the shop to carry out a test purchase and Mr Higgins sold him the goldfish without questioning his age or providing any information about the care of the fish.
A council officer in the shop at the time also noticed a cockatiel in a cage that appeared to be in a poor state of health. A vet found the bird had a broken leg and eye problems. It was later put down.

Mrs Higgins and her son were charged with selling the fish to a person aged under 16 and with causing unnecessary suffering to a cockatiel by failing to provide appropriate care and treatment.
Pleading guilty, Mrs Higgins told Trafford magistrates the cockatiel had not been for sale and she had been bathing its eye daily.

She had intended to take it to the vet but had been distracted and worried because her other son was in hospital.
The court heard that Mrs Higgins had possessed a licence to sell animals for many years and had never had any problems before.
She was fined £1,000 and given a community order with a curfew requiring her to stay home between 6pm and 7am for seven weeks.
Mrs Higgins did not have her licence to sell animals removed, but both she and her son were told that if they ever appeared in court for a similar offence they could face a jail sentence.
David Davies, Tory MP for Monmouth, said: 'You simply couldn't make it up. It is absolutely ludicrous that old ladies should be hounded through the courts and electronically tagged for something like this.

'At a time when courts are being told not to lock up career burglars we have them issuing severe punishments like this on little old ladies.' Mr Davies, who has served as a special constable for three years, said: 'Not only is it traumatic for her but it is a complete waste of time and taxpayers' money. It is ridiculous.
'Instead of getting 14-year-old boys to act in this type of sting they should have them trying to nail people who sell drugs outside our schools.'
Trafford Council said it launched an investigation after an unsubstantiated complaint that the shop had sold a gerbil to a 14-year-old girl with learning disabilities. The council claimed the animal later died after the child placed it in a disposable coffee cup with a plastic lid on top.
But the complaint did not form part of the legal action in court and its truth cannot be verified.
Mrs Higgins said the shop had not stocked gerbils for months before the complaint anyway.
Defending the goldfish case, Iain Veitch, head of public protection at Trafford Council, said: 'The evidence presented for this conviction clearly demonstrates that it is irresponsible to sell animals to those who are not old enough to look after them.
'Let this conviction send out a message that we will not tolerate those who cause unnecessary suffering to animals. The council will always try to support pet and business owners so that they are able to care for their animals properly, but where they continually ignore the advice they are given, we will not hesitate to use our statutory powers.'
The goldfish was later adopted by an animal welfare officer and is in good health.
 

platy ben

Member
Wow, I've never heard of that law in the UK, the only one I know is you can't buy koI or marine fish under 16.
 

Chris123

Member
That's Riduluous!

I can't belive that go through that much trouble for this


CB
 

Charlemagne

Member
Ugh, people are ridiculous sometimes.
 

Gouramiguy17

Member
Wow, I would die if I couldn't buy fish. I think that that law is a bit extreme
 

bass master

Member
I always think its terrible when a government overextends the application of a law like that... Its just a waste of tax payer money and doesn't really accomplish anything that the creators of the law probably intended
 

Elodea

Member
"Pet shops must also provide advice on animal welfare to buyers."

*cough* *cough* *cou-LFS* *cough* *cough*
 

Tigerfishy

Member
Yes, it is ridiculous, wasting my tax money on this.

She gets all these restrictions put on her, and the real criminals (someone who recently killed a motorcyclist and permanently disabled motorbike's passenger weeks away form their wedding due to driving too fast on the wrong side of the road) gets 3 years in prison. 3 years with the possibility of being released in 18 months time for "good behaviour" for ruining 2 families lives forever.

The real criminals are better treated than the law abiding citizens. If a serial traffic offender got caught speeding, there would be a slap on the wirst, if I did it (no convictions), I woud get fined, points on my license. The list goes on.

It is crazy, many responsible fishkeepers are under 16, I personally think the younger members here (Not that it's even apparent until school is mentioned lol) are very sensitive to the needs of the fish, conversely, many adults (NOT our members) can be very irresponsible with another life form...

OK, I'm done, sorry!!!
 

tatty_kassy

Member
Not a big surprise, I read that a few weeks ago this 71 yr old woman was arrested and cuffed for asking an officer "why?" When he approached her & her friends while they were just lazily standing on the sidewalk.
for standing on a sidewalk.
Can you believe that?? Hard tax dollars at work.
 

harpua2002

Member
What a shame. I'm a member of several forums and have met many young members online that do a better job keeping fish than a lot of adults.
 

platy ben

Member
I just turned 16 in february Do I do a good job?

This law is such a shame, and certainly a waste of money.
 

Elodea

Member
Yep, Ben, ridiculous. Still, I wish that the LFS here would provide advice on the welfare of their animals. (I'm 13. Pretty old for a strand of pondweed, isn't it? lol)
 

harpua2002

Member
platy ben said:
I just turned 16 in february Do I do a good job?

This law is such a shame, and certainly a waste of money.
Elodea said:
Yep, Ben, ridiculous. Still, I wish that the LFS here would provide advice on the welfare of their animals. (I'm 13. Pretty old for a strand of pondweed, isn't it? lol)
Hehe, this is exactly my point... I never would have guessed that you two were teens until you told us or talked about school or something! ;D
 

7.3IDIDSL

Member
That is crazy. I don't think they have any laws like that around here.

The other sad part is this lady was fined, placed under a curfew and has to wear a tag all for selling a fish to a 14 year old. A drug dealer or gang member wouldnt even receive a sentence like that where I live.
 

navyscuba

Member
This is the most ridiculous thing I ever read.
 

Jaysee

Member
While I don't agree because I don't agree with any laws restricting our personal freedoms, is it really that unreasonable to require kids under 16 be accompanied by an adult when purchasing a pet? Owning a pet requires a commitment of time and money. There is an informal contract that by purchasing an animal, you will care for it and provide for it. It IS unlawful for minors to enter into contracts, and it cannot be assumed that those needs can be met unless an adult is present to give concent. That's probably the reasoning behind it, IMO.

Minors can't get a dog or a cat on their own (at least not in NJ - even before this law) for obvious reasons, so considder this a victory in the name of fish equality

The punishment was rediculous
 

jersey

Member
wow

Pet Store owner faces legal action over goldfish
April 1: Msnbc’s Tamron Hall talks with pet store owner Joan Higgins about her violation of the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, by selling goldfish to a 15-year-old boy, and what limitations it has placed on her daily routine.
 

bolivianbaby

Member
platy ben said:
I just turned 16 in february Do I do a good job?

This law is such a shame, and certainly a waste of money.
Elodea said:
Yep, Ben, ridiculous. Still, I wish that the LFS here would provide advice on the welfare of their animals. (I'm 13. Pretty old for a strand of pondweed, isn't it? lol)
I'm going off topic (sorry everyone), but both of you gentlemen show a great deal of responsibility in regards to your fish. I never would've guessed you both were teenagers.

I hope my daughter shows the same amount of responsibility when she becomes a teenager. You're excellent role models and it's a pleasure having you both on the forum.
 
  • Moderator

Lucy

Moderator
Member
Jersey, your thread has been merged with Slug's since it's the same topic.
 

platy ben

Member
I'm going off topic (sorry everyone), but both of you gentlemen show a great deal of responsibility in regards to your fish. I never would've guessed you both were teenagers.

I hope my daughter shows the same amount of responsibility when she becomes a teenager. You're excellent role models and it's a pleasure having you both on the forum.
*Wipes tear from eye* Awww One of the many reasons I love this forum! Such friendly people that you can really get to know
 

jersey

Member
I wouldnt have guessed them as teenagers either. if I was their parent id be proud.

although I couldnt be because I'm only 21.

Lucy said:
Jersey, your thread has been merged with Slug's since it's the same topic.
that's cool I didnt look for one before I posted.
 

Elodea

Member
bolivianbaby said:
I'm going off topic (sorry everyone), but both of you gentlemen show a great deal of responsibility in regards to your fish. I never would've guessed you both were teenagers.

I hope my daughter shows the same amount of responsibility when she becomes a teenager. You're excellent role models and it's a pleasure having you both on the forum.
*starts openly crying*

Again, I must agree with Ben that this is a wonderful forum...I went through quite a few other fish forums (not as a member, of course) and always found flaming, crude language, rudeness, etc. Never this kind of stuff on Fishlore.

Haha Ben, I beat you when it comes to being hysterical.

Whoops, off topic again. Sorry for the hijack.
 

Shawnie

Member
Jaysee said:
While I don't agree because I don't agree with any laws restricting our personal freedoms, is it really that unreasonable to require kids under 16 be accompanied by an adult when purchasing a pet? Owning a pet requires a commitment of time and money. There is an informal contract that by purchasing an animal, you will care for it and provide for it. It IS unlawful for minors to enter into contracts, and it cannot be assumed that those needs can be met unless an adult is present to give concent. That's probably the reasoning behind it, IMO.

Minors can't get a dog or a cat on their own (at least not in NJ - even before this law) for obvious reasons, so considder this a victory in the name of fish equality

The punishment was ridiculous
+2 ....you worded it perfectly!!!
I'm so glad though to see young members here who definitely show more knowledge than most adults I deal with daily about fish....I wish you all could spread the word among your peers that might be interested in the hobby....seems they would be more likely to listen to you , than adults....especially in our LFS...but fishlore, is a site that congregates all us fish lovers ...and some young and old alike, adore our hobby/fin babies....that's why some of us have bonded so well.....but as jaysee suggested, I also think pet stores/fish stores should be held liable for selling to minors ...especially if there is no adult with them...you can't buy a kitty, dog, bird etc, so why should you be allowed to buy a fish? ....ALLOT of us have wanted some more rules/regulations for our fin babies to be enforced....I for one, would LOVE to see fish and their mistreatment/abuse, treated like dogs, cats, horses etc are treated....most likely, that won't ever happen, but I agree the punishment was unreal... things need to change soon for our fish worldwide IMO....
 

charzar-g

Member
I am sixteen now, but last year I went in to get my dad a parrot fish as a present and they wouldn't let me. I guess at least the shops know they aren't allowed to.
I don't think the law is stupid - because seriously, some people wouldn't by an animal for the reason we would on this website, be it a fish or any other animal.
But I do think they went a bit extreme with this womans punishment :/
 

izzyfishfarmer

Member
that's absolutly the dumbest thing ive ever heard anyone call a crime jeeze
 

Jaysee

Member
izzyfishfarmer said:
that's absolutly the dumbest thing ive ever heard anyone call a crime jeeze
Oh, there are MUCH dumber things than that, many of which are not suitable to be mentioned here....
 

sirdarksol

Member
I'm with Jaysee on this one.
Not that I am against minors having pets, just that I think their parents should be along when purchasing those pets. There are three different pet stores in my area that, when I'm there, I'm almost guaranteed to see a group of young teens buying a bunch of bettas, or buying a piranha and a ton of feeder guppies. It's possible that some of these kids have a whole bunch of tanks, and just really like bettas, or that they've got a nice, big, 55 gallon tank with a few piranha already, and are just restocking and buying some food while they're at it, but I'd be more willing to bet that these fish are going to end up in 10 gallon tanks together, just because the kids want to see the fish kill each other.
Most humane societies won't adopt out to someone under 16 (sometimes 18) for these reasons, as well as because of the amount of care a cat, dog, rabbit, etc... takes. We all know that fish take at least as much care as a cat, so this really isn't that unreasonable.

Now, the punishment levied for this is absolutely ridiculous. I could see the fine for a repeat offense (presuming this wasn't), but on the first offense, I think a much smaller fine would be far more appropriate.
 

ATP

Member
IMO, this is like a sterotype. Being 14 myself, I feel like they're saying that most teens buys fish, but don't give proper care so lets put a law saying that people under 16 can't buy fish without parents. I know adults that don't give proper care so way 16? Even if they have a parent, some adults don't even care what happens to them.

This should be judged by their knowledge not by their age.
 

Meenu

Member
ATP said:
IMO, this is like a sterotype. Being 14 myself, I feel like they're saying that most teens buys fish, but don't give proper care so lets put a law saying that people under 16 can't buy fish without parents. I know adults that don't give proper care so way 16? Even if they have a parent, some adults don't even care what happens to them.

This should be judged by their knowledge not by their age.
Um, most kids under 16 don't give proper care. You and some other teen members of this forum are the exception, not the rule, in my opinion. As far as being judged by knowledge and not by age, how would they do that? The government has a standardized test, and you have to go to the DMV to take the test before you can get a license to go to the store to purchase a fish? Age-based restrictions are more practical than knowledge-based restrictions. Unfortunate, but true. And in this situation, I have no problem with an age-based restriction.

Your point about adults not knowing either is a good one, but here is the difference in my opinion. We get adult members here who get fish, come on here for help, and we tell them to change their set up. If they are listening to us, they do so. However, we get kids in the same circumstance, and it's a lot of "my parents won't let me"... so if they parents are involved in the process the entire time, how is that a bad thing?

Of course the punishment was way over the top. As a member of law enforcement, I know that the media skews things and leaves out pertinent facts to get a reaction. In this situation, I feel pretty certain that the punishment is so over the top for what is described that they MUST have left things out.
 

mizzoufan96

Member
That's pretty goofy. If your under 16 your most likely with an adult anyways because that's when you get your drivers lisence in missourI atleast. Did they have problems with people abusing animals or somthing? That's the only thing I could think of.
 

ATP

Member
Meenu said:
Um, most kids under 16 don't give proper care. You and some other teen members of this forum are the exception, not the rule, in my opinion. As far as being judged by knowledge and not by age, how would they do that? The government has a standardized test, and you have to go to the DMV to take the test before you can get a license to go to the store to purchase a fish? Age-based restrictions are more practical than knowledge-based restrictions. Unfortunate, but true. And in this situation, I have no problem with an age-based restriction.

Your point about adults not knowing either is a good one, but here is the difference in my opinion. We get adult members here who get fish, come on here for help, and we tell them to change their set up. If they are listening to us, they do so. However, we get kids in the same circumstance, and it's a lot of "my parents won't let me"... so if they parents are involved in the process the entire time, how is that a bad thing?

Of course the punishment was way over the top. As a member of law enforcement, I know that the media skews things and leaves out pertinent facts to get a reaction. In this situation, I feel pretty certain that the punishment is so over the top for what is described that they MUST have left things out.
True, but for the adults, how many of the people who have fish seek for help when problem rises? I cannot prove that majority doesn't, but we all cannot prove that majority does as well. I would assume most fishes that are in the hands of people are not well taken care off. A lot of people do not treat fish as they treat cats and dogs (worldwide). Majority of the people I know who have fish do give proper care for their fishes and most of them don't even bother to research.

Wholesales and some lfs don't even care for their fish. Just look at petco. I'v never been to a petco that doen't have a dead fish in atleast every few tanks. Most fish that arrives are dieased. Why aren't they putting restrictions on them,but putting it on teens?

If they want to narrower the deathes of fish, think they should make sure that the person who are taking care of the specific department should be educated about what they're caring for. If they are educated, the will educate others along the way. Most petstores are chain stores and most chain stores do not have educated people taking care of their fish department. I believe (not supported by facts though) that most fishes die because they were not treated properly at their fish stores and wholesalers.

Just from fishlore, I see that most people that have said something about their lfs say more bad than good
 

firemouthfreak

Member
This is ridiculous.. Poor lady.. If people spent that much effort into a making a law that made sure REAL criminals never got out, the world would be a much better place.. Jeez.. If I wasn't able to buy fish.. That would.. suck.. a lot.. (Just turned 15) :]
 

JustinF

Member
I feel sorry for the old lady, that's just ridiculous. Why would you set up a sting operation on something so small, shouldn't they be out busting real criminals.
 
  • Moderator

ryanr

Moderator
Member
Whilst in this example, the purpose of the law is to protect the animals, if we take a step outside the square, it is also an opportunity to protect the child/teen/young adult.

Unfortunately, in a world full of litigation suits, it is also in the interests of the LFS/LPS to protect themselves.

Rightly or wrongly, 16 is generally considered the age at which a person may 'make decisions for themselves'. By having a parent/guardian present, the spending of the minor's money is being approved/endorsed. It also suggests that the family is happy to have the pet in their house.

The potential of a 13yr coming home with a new betta, only to have the parent take them back to the shop with "You sold my child....." is very real, and also the child being disappointed by the experience etc etc.

I'm not saying minors are incapable of properly caring for an animal, but there also needs to be some approval for the animal to be in a house/apartment from their parents/guardians. And if renting, many minors do not understand some rules that state 'no pets'.

To all our minors on this forum, many of you have probably helped me along the way, and probably know more about fishkeeping than I do, and I greatly value your input, I think you do a wonderful job with your fish.

For the record - I'm astounded that the UK police force can 'lock up' a harmless lady, yet the likes of bin Laden et al are still free. There should be a more allocation of resources, and focus on the bigger picture. The punishment is rediculously excessive, and a waste of UK tax-payer money.

That's my 2c

[edit:] please note I have stated many minors, not all minors. There are always exceptions
 

Nutter

Member
I agree that this is a good common sense law & I especially like Jaysee's & Ryan's takes on it. The punishment for it in this case was somewhere between ridiculous & ludicrous but the law itself is a good one.
 

Nicolas17

Member
It's ridiculous that there's actually a law for selling fish to under-sixteen kids, but even more ridiculous is the punishment received for it.

Yeah, maybe a dog or cat I understand, but a fish?
 

sirdarksol

Member
Nicolas17 said:
Yeah, maybe a dog or cat I understand, but a fish?
You'll find that a lot of people here believe that we need to start looking at pet fish more like we look at pet cats and dogs. I'm one of them. It's my belief that, if we're going to take an animal and turn it into decoration/entertainment, then we are obligated to give it a certain level of care and respect. In almost all other areas of society, we don't trust someone under sixteen to make such an obligation.

As I pointed out above, taking care of a fish takes at least as much effort as taking care of a cat. Actually, since writing that, I've examined it a little more thoroughly, and I think it takes more.

As I also said, I think that the punishment was extreme, presuming this was a first offense.

Of course, in a perfect world, there would be no law. Pet shops would simply choose not to sell to people who weren't mature enough to make such decisions, and everybody would be mature enough, so it really wouldn't be an issue, anyway.
 

Meenu

Member
Yes, the largely prevailing view on FL, and even on some other fish forums, is that our fish are living creatures and our pets, and should be treated with the same consideration.
 

Losech

Member
I got carded at Petco when I got my Flame Tetras, and I only went there because that was the only store that carried them. The girl (who was obviously younger than me) looked at me with a snarky expression and asked if I was over 18. I said yeah, I'm 21. She said "oh sure" rolled her eyes and asked to see my ID. She looked at it (it's out of state, confuzzled her a bit) then handed it to me with a bitter attitude and proceeded to viciously bag the fish I asked for.
That was quite surprising, since I'd only been carded at places like the liquor store. I guess being cursed with an overpopulation of acne and blue hair doesn't help but make me look younger >_<
 

sirdarksol

Member
Losech said:
I got carded at Petco when I got my Flame Tetras, and I only went there because that was the only store that carried them. The girl (who was obviously younger than me) looked at me with a snarky expression and asked if I was over 18. I said yeah, I'm 21. She said "oh sure" rolled her eyes and asked to see my ID. She looked at it (it's out of state, confuzzled her a bit) then handed it to me with a bitter attitude and proceeded to viciously bag the fish I asked for.
See, this is both a positive and a negative. The store is implementing its own policy, which is good. However, if the employees are going to be snarky about it (and worse, potentially harm the fish), then they're just going to tick people off (and in the case of the potentially injured fish, be somewhat hypocritical, because the whole point is to give the fish a better chance of receiving decent care).
 
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