THE owner of a pet shop is resolute in his decision to keep his store open despite an online campaign calling for its closure.

Bury Council officers carried out an unannounced inspection of Radcliffe Pets Ltd and found it to be compliant under the terms of its licence.

The Radcliffe Times understand a visit was also undertaken by RSPCA officials following a referral by Greater Manchester Police and again, no issues were found.

Owner Jonathan Beetson said: “My shop is not closing. It is open for business. It is not closing in two weeks, or in two years.

“There have been lots of accusations made and a lot of things have been written on the internet. It is absolutely awful to have this happen. If it were true, or any bit of it were true, I would not be heartbroken.

“I am running it as a proper business. It is all registered and licensed. We are adhering to the right standards.”

A petition to ‘Close Radcliffe Pets’ has been signed by more than 88,000 people. Just over 33,000 of those are living in the United Kingdom.

Hundreds of comments have also been shared on social media, with allegations made about the treatment of animals and their living environment.

Further allegations have been made about a dead raccoon in the store, and animals being left without food and drink.

A video taken inside the shop was also shared hundreds of times. However, the link to the original post is not currently available, with a Facebook message reading: "The link you clicked on may be broken or expired, or you may not have permission to view this page."

There are two members of staff at the Radcliffe shop who oversee the animals on site, including rabbits, budgies and finches.

Mr Beetson said the raccoons and meerkats which have featured in a video are his private pets, not for sale, and not situated on the shopfloor.

He said: "The people of Radcliffe can come to my shop and time they want, to see the shop, to see our animals, and to see how they are kept."

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA said inspectors have visited the site in the past following complaints but no breaches of the Animal Welfare Act were found.

"During our visits, the animals were found to have food and water", she said before adding: "Anyone with concerns about the welfare of any animal should contact us."

Bury Council said it had received "a number of complaints" about the pet shop, in Dale Street, Radcliffe.

An Animal Health Enforcement Officer made an unannounced visit to the premises on Thursday.

A council spokeswoman said: "During the visit, an inspection of the premises was carried out and it was found to be compliant under the current licence issued, under the Pet Animals Act 1951.

"Whilst at the premises, the owner of the business was spoken to. It was also confirmed that a visit had been undertaken by the RSPCA following a referral by Greater Manchester Police. No issues were found by the RSPCA.

"Tougher new licensing rules to better protect thousands of animals were introduced on October 1, 2018, as part of a swathe of reforms to safeguard the welfare of Britain’s pets. These new rules tighten up laws around selling pets, breeding dogs and the business of caring for animals.

"Bury Trading Standards are currently implementing these new rules and have been briefing all current licence holders, including the owner of Radcliffe Pets Limited, on the new requirements to enable the transfer to the new licensing regime."

To ensure businesses affected by the new laws comply, Bury Council and other local authorities across the city have arranged for a series of workshops to be provided to businesses.

The next session will be held in the council chamber at Bury Town Hall between 5.30pm and 9.30pm on November 7.