THE owner of a petting farm is worried he will be forced to close due to an exotic animal licensing issue.

Animal Quackers in Bacup had a visit from Rossendale Council officers who told owner Terry Bork that he needed a zoo licence to keep some of the animals he houses at the farm which include a raccoon and snakes.

Terry said: "What's really annoyed me is we opened 12 years ago, so why now?

"If I had applied for planning permission and was setting this up now and they said this, I would understand.

"We rely on the exotic animals and it is why people visit. I am worried that if we have to get rid of these animals, we will end up closing."

Terry added that he is now looking to organise a GoFundMe page to help pay for the licences, which could cost thousands of pounds.

The farm is home to a host of animals including a bald eagle, a raccoon and snakes but the council said they were unaware of some of the species living on the farm until recently.

Since the visit, Terry said he has had to put down and get rid of several the animals to be in accordance with rules.

He went on to say that a zoo licence and exhibition licence, which is what the council has said they need, is not an affordable option for him.

Instead he has asked the council if a pet shop licence would suffice for his animals, something he has been refused.

The council has since said that the application was incomplete when submitted.

This is the latest run-in the animal farm has had with the council during its 12 years following a closure due to an Ecoli concern and a rejected retrospective planning application.

A spokesperson for the council said: "The council received complaints via trading standards, about animal welfare issues in July 2021.

"It has always been a legal requirement to have a licence for some of the animals they have and activities they carry out at the premises, but until they were brought to our attention, we were unaware the operator housed such animals.

"In August 2021, Licensing Enforcement Officers attended the site to discuss licensing requirements with the owners.

"Since that time, the Council have been in constant communication with the operator about the required licences. The operator submitted one incomplete application for the sale of animals at the end of January 2022, but no completed applications have been received to date."