A Nottinghamshire man has been told he may continue to operate an extremely small and private big cat zoo of his own creation, with the local council planning team narrowly approving an application to continue to be in charge of his wild beasts.
They are the extreme level pets owned by Reece Oliver, who already has a zookeeper license and uses it to house two rescued lion cubs and a puma on his land – but his local council wanted them gone, not least because of a three metre-high fence he erected to keep them in, or to keep people out, for which he didn't ask for permission. Lions in the garden? No problem. A fence without permission? All hell breaks loose.
However, the gang of planning officials went rogue and voted against the rest of the council's advice by seven to five to allow the micro-zooery to be allowed to continue, which guarantees the safety of the animals and removes the threat that, had permission been denied, they may have been removed and destroyed.
Oliver said: "...these last few weeks have been extremely stressful, but I know those animals would have had to have been put down. I love those animals, they're like children to me. It would have been like taking my children off me."