Almost 70 exotic animals seized from Tropical Inc run by Stephen Rowlands

TV star behind animal centre raided by RSPCA

EXOTIC: The RSPCA has seized animals such as meerkats

Stephen Rowlands on the Alan Titchmarsh show

First published in News

A TV wildlife expert who appeared alongside Alan Titchmarsh on his daytime chat show is being investigated over claims dozens of exotic animals in his care had been mistreated.

Police and RSPCA officers swooped on the newly built headquarters of Tropical Inc., in Dunhampton, near Worcester, in a dawn raid on Thursday and confiscated nearly 70 animals under the Animal Welfare Act.

The animals taken included meerkats, monkeys, an armadillo, coatis, genets, owls, parrots, snapping turtles, tortoises, snakes, a porcupine, Harris hawks, and cotton-top tamarins.

The firm, which teaches school children about tropical animals, is run by Stephen Rowlands.

The 31-year-old, from Oldbury, has made regular appearances on ITV1's Alan Titchmarsh Show where he has showed off his tortoises and reptiles.

His company's website says staff will educate people about how to care for their exotic pets.

The site states: "Our company aim is to educate all walks of life from nursery to university Students on the natural behaviour of all exotic animals, through fun and interactive presentations and displays.

"We also give advice to people on the welfare of their exotic pets and offer a good home to one's that need it.

"By encouraging people's natural curiosity, the secrets of environments such as the rainforest and desert we will take you on an almost magical journey."

But the new permanent base the company had set up in Dunhampton, was raided after concerns animals were being mistreated.

No arrests were made but all of the animals have been temporarily rehomed at specialist centres elsewhere in the UK while an investigation is carried out.

An RSPCA spokesman said: "Five RSPCA inspectors, two police, five other specialists and a specialist zoo vet attended an address in Worcester early Thursday morning and removed around 70 animals under suspicion of offences under the Animal Welfare Act.

"Among those taken were coatis, genets, an armadillo, owls, parrots, snapping turtles, tortoises, snakes, a porcupine, Harris hawks, meerkats and cotton-top tamarins.

"The police had applied for a warrant which was issued by the magistrate court. All of the animals have now been taken to specialist establishments pending the outcome of the investigation."

Glenn Arscott, education officer at Tropical Inc., said yesterday: "The premises in Dunhampton, which do belong to Tropical Inc., were raided on Thursday.

"Stephen was not arrested. We have been told not to say anything further."

As reported in your Worcester News at the time planning permission for the Dunhampton site was granted by Wychavon District Council in August despite concerns.

Some members of the planning committee expressed concern the site would exploit the animals for entertainment.

Speaking at the time, councillor Judy Pearce, said: "We are being told this will be an educational facility, but on the company's website it keeps on referring to corporate events and parties.

"That's not what I want to see animals doing.

"Alarm bells are ringing."

Comments (9)

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1:10pm Fri 4 Jan 13

kidderlord says...

if as i suspect this is the raid at dunhampton you are wrong with your details= there were at least FOUR police vehicles, therefore at least four police, plus about 10 RSPCA vehicles.
if as i suspect this is the raid at dunhampton you are wrong with your details= there were at least FOUR police vehicles, therefore at least four police, plus about 10 RSPCA vehicles. kidderlord
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Fri 4 Jan 13

kidderlord says...

if as i suspect this is the raid at dunhampton you are wrong with your details= there were at least FOUR police vehicles, therefore at least four police, plus about 10 RSPCA vehicles.
if as i suspect this is the raid at dunhampton you are wrong with your details= there were at least FOUR police vehicles, therefore at least four police, plus about 10 RSPCA vehicles. kidderlord
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Fri 4 Jan 13

kidderlord says...

if as i suspect this is the raid at dunhampton you are wrong with your details= there were at least FOUR police vehicles, therefore at least four police, plus about 10 RSPCA vehicles.
if as i suspect this is the raid at dunhampton you are wrong with your details= there were at least FOUR police vehicles, therefore at least four police, plus about 10 RSPCA vehicles. kidderlord
  • Score: 0

6:44pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Ralph123 says...

Humm .... I hope this raid was justified and the locals didn't have a little bit of a witchhunt. Drove past this a few times that day and did wonder what could have been in there to take them so long.
Humm .... I hope this raid was justified and the locals didn't have a little bit of a witchhunt. Drove past this a few times that day and did wonder what could have been in there to take them so long. Ralph123
  • Score: 0

9:33pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Sharon7 says...

I have seen him several times at Eastnor Castle, he is a lovely bloke, knows everything about his animals, he is genuine and caring. Whats the comment "thats not what i want to see animals doing", "alarm bells are ringing". This person obviously hasn't seen his educational presentations with the animals.
I have seen him several times at Eastnor Castle, he is a lovely bloke, knows everything about his animals, he is genuine and caring. Whats the comment "thats not what i want to see animals doing", "alarm bells are ringing". This person obviously hasn't seen his educational presentations with the animals. Sharon7
  • Score: 0

9:51pm Fri 4 Jan 13

EllenLB says...

True Sharon, why not educate people and children at parties?!! Everybody who met him knows Steve does very good work and really, truly cares for the animals in his watch. It is horrible for him and the animals and all the good he is doing that this has happened to him! Hopefully things are sorted out quickly and the RSPCA will apologize for having gotten it wrong!
True Sharon, why not educate people and children at parties?!! Everybody who met him knows Steve does very good work and really, truly cares for the animals in his watch. It is horrible for him and the animals and all the good he is doing that this has happened to him! Hopefully things are sorted out quickly and the RSPCA will apologize for having gotten it wrong! EllenLB
  • Score: 0

12:16pm Sat 5 Jan 13

New Kid on the Block says...

EllenLB wrote:
True Sharon, why not educate people and children at parties?!! Everybody who met him knows Steve does very good work and really, truly cares for the animals in his watch. It is horrible for him and the animals and all the good he is doing that this has happened to him! Hopefully things are sorted out quickly and the RSPCA will apologize for having gotten it wrong!
The RSPCA doesn't apologize.
These days they prefer to involve very expensive Lawyers and prosecute.
[quote][p][bold]EllenLB[/bold] wrote: True Sharon, why not educate people and children at parties?!! Everybody who met him knows Steve does very good work and really, truly cares for the animals in his watch. It is horrible for him and the animals and all the good he is doing that this has happened to him! Hopefully things are sorted out quickly and the RSPCA will apologize for having gotten it wrong![/p][/quote]The RSPCA doesn't apologize. These days they prefer to involve very expensive Lawyers and prosecute. New Kid on the Block
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Sat 5 Jan 13

DarrenM says...

TV Star? I've never heard of him, so presumably he's ideal for the next series of "Celebrity Big Brother" !
TV Star? I've never heard of him, so presumably he's ideal for the next series of "Celebrity Big Brother" ! DarrenM
  • Score: 0

7:21pm Sat 5 Jan 13

MikeWil says...

Is this genuine or is it the RSPCA trying yet another political prosecution in order to gain the publicity to drive donations into their coffers?

The RSPCA opposes the keeping of exotic animals and believes that petting zoos or indeed any sort of zoo should not be allowed.

This raises serious concerns that this raid has little to do with animal welfare.

Please sign and share the petition for an investigation into the activities of the RSPCA.

http://epetitions.di
rect.gov.uk/petition
s/43807

We ask the government to investigate the RSPCA's activities, especially where they infringe civl or legal rights.

Responsible department: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The RSPCA use "bully boy" tactics against innocent members of the public to bring prosecutions. They often infringe on citizens civil and legal rights.
They misuse funds which have been donated by members of the public specifically for animal welfare for their own political gain in bringing these often vexatious prosecutions. This petition asks that the government investigate fully the actions of the RSPCA, ensure that they are unable to prosecute anyone as that is the remit of the CPS and ensure tighter rules are in place from the charities commission to prevent registered charities from using funds for political lobbying or bringing private prosecutions.
Is this genuine or is it the RSPCA trying yet another political prosecution in order to gain the publicity to drive donations into their coffers? The RSPCA opposes the keeping of exotic animals and believes that petting zoos or indeed any sort of zoo should not be allowed. This raises serious concerns that this raid has little to do with animal welfare. Please sign and share the petition for an investigation into the activities of the RSPCA. http://epetitions.di rect.gov.uk/petition s/43807 We ask the government to investigate the RSPCA's activities, especially where they infringe civl or legal rights. Responsible department: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs The RSPCA use "bully boy" tactics against innocent members of the public to bring prosecutions. They often infringe on citizens civil and legal rights. They misuse funds which have been donated by members of the public specifically for animal welfare for their own political gain in bringing these often vexatious prosecutions. This petition asks that the government investigate fully the actions of the RSPCA, ensure that they are unable to prosecute anyone as that is the remit of the CPS and ensure tighter rules are in place from the charities commission to prevent registered charities from using funds for political lobbying or bringing private prosecutions. MikeWil
  • Score: 0

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