As most of you know, Dan Richardson was recently refused a DWAL by East Yorkshire Council, despite having his room and facility inspected by a council appointed vet and deemed more than fit for purpose. “it's one of the best I've seen”, said the inspecting vet.
Dan's application was supported by many of the most notable and well known experts in the field, including Graeme Skinner, of Naturally Wild, and REPTA Chairman, Chris Newman, who stated he had never seen a case like this in his 25 years involvement in the DWAA.
The council made it clear half way through that they had no intention of granting a license, and began creating increasingly large loopholes for him to jump through and moved the goal posts every time he jumped, to persuade him not to follow his passion.
The first day in the Magistrates Court went well. They decided they should concentrate on the legislation, which led to the majority of the councils evidence being dismissed, and after more than 5 hours of evidence, the court was adjourned and Dan was pleased to hear the Magistrate advice the council to go away and grant a reasonable, conditioned license. Unfortunately, the second date at court, on the 22nd of August, the atmosphere had changed. The Magistrate made a complete U-turn and sided with the council unexpectedly.
If being denied the right to follows ones dreams isn't enough, the court added insult to injury by charging Dan £1200 for costs, and although they've offered a payment plan they deemed 'reasonable', it will still leave his family to go without until the balance is paid off.
Dan's case has drawn in interest from venomous and non-venomous snake keepers world wide and is a ground-breaking case which may unfortunately encourage keepers to avoid the process and keep illegally in the future.
The legal battle is now over, there will be no more court dates and no more appeals. Dan's journey will not continue, but the dedication he put into it has resulted in further costs and the memory of this terrible decision will remain fresh until this debt has gone. It would be great if we could show our support and help Dan pay off the financial burden in one fell swoop, allowing him to move on to the next chapter of his life.
Thank you for taking the time.