Life of Brit couple in Almeria wrecked by private zoo

Published:  23 Jun at 6 PM
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A British couple living in Almeria have had their lives wrecked by their next door neighbour’s illegal zoo.

David and Mandy Dibble bought a house in the Arboleas town of El Chopo 15 years ago, and live there for at least six months every year. Everything was fine until, some five years ago, their British neighbour sold his property to a German expatriate. Much to the couple’s horror, the man immediately began building cages on the property, usually on a Friday afternoon after the local council offices were closed for the weekend. Baffled by the activity, they soon found out the reasons for the pens when the neighbour, who can’t be named for legal reasons, installed peacocks and other large, very noisy birds.

As if that wasn’t enough, the German also brought in a variety of wildlife including a type of racoon known as a coati bear, miniature deer, African wild cats and wallabies. One of the wild cats escaped and is still roaming around the area, but a formerly acquired black panther seems to have been sold on, as has a huge Indonesian flightless cassowary bird.
Inevitably, the noise caused by the assorted wildlife as well as the stench made the next-door couple’s life hell, as they can’t open the windows and they’re regularly woken up at night. Large rats now infest the area and start battles with stray cats attracted by the animals’ food, and several meercats are living in the house.

The Spanish Guardia Civil’s SEPRONA wildlife protection arm as well as the local town council confirmed the zoo’s owner doesn’t have the correct permits, and an attempt was made in 2013 to have the facility closed down. However, the legal documents necessary were not signed by the mayor, thus preventing any action. David has already had two heart attacks, and the stress of the continuing racket and odours is causing symptoms of severe stress. He told local media the only response he’s had from the town hall is that there’s nowhere to put the wildlife and it’s too expensive to remove it.
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