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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 20:12 GMT 21:12 UK
Man can keep leopards in garden
A margay
Todd Dalton also wants to keep a margay in his garden
A conservationist has won the right to keep endangered wild animals in his garden in a residential area.

Todd Dalton was banned by Southwark Council from keeping a clouded leopard in a cage in Peckham, south London.

But Tower Bridge magistrates overturned the decision after a vet deemed the 3.6m (12ft) cages were "suitable" for the animals.

Neighbours had opposed Mr Dalton's bid fearing the animals could escape and pose a threat to pets and even people.

Southwark Council said it was disappointed with the ruling.

Wild cats

"We do not agree with the law which says residents' views cannot be taken into account when considering this type of licence," a council spokesman said.

Mr Dalton will still require planning permission before he can use the cages to house the leopards and other wild cats, including an ocelot and a margay.

The council spokesman said residents would be consulted on Mr Dalton's application for a change of use to his premises.

Mr Dalton, 30, set up an internet company selling exotic animal food such as green crocodile curry and snake vodka.

He said he was passionate about conservation and insisted the animals would be safe.

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