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Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary in Sittingbourne hit by new rubble row


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Beleaguered animal sanctuary Happy Pants Ranch has now been taken to task over rubble.

Owner Amey James and her partner Phil Greenhalgh used hardcore to reach and feed the 450 animals scattered over their 20-acre site at Bobbing near Sittingbourne.

Disputed rubble and hardcore at Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary at Bobbing, Sittingbourne
Disputed rubble and hardcore at Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary at Bobbing, Sittingbourne

But inspectors from the Environment Agency were tipped off and made a surprise visit in October.

They discovered the bricks and concrete also contained "large volumes" of plastic bottles and packaging, wires, electrical equipment and metal contrary to the sanctuary's U1 waste exemption certificate.

When inspectors returned in November they found the illegal items had still not been removed and said there was a risk of polluting ground and surface water.

They also witnessed the illegal burning of manure and a blanket and issued advice on the safe storage of slurry.

They have also demanded to see waste transfer notes and said they had been told hauliers had been allowed to tip waste onto the site in Iwade Road, Bobbing, without it being checked.

Founder Amey James with cockerels at The Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary in Iwade Lane, Bobbing
Founder Amey James with cockerels at The Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary in Iwade Lane, Bobbing

Ms James admitted some of the hardcore had been contaminated and was "not as clean as it should have been" but said she was planning to remove the unauthorised items.

She added: "It wasn't our fault. We have had so much to do. It is never-ending. We keep getting reported to the authorities.

"We are now taking legal advice to see if we have a case for harassment.

"There has been a string of malicious calls made up about us ever since we arrived on January 15 last year. They have complained about smoke from our bonfires, the noise of our cows and cockerels and us upsetting newts. Yet we are in the middle of 20 acres.

"We aren't upsetting anyone. We are just trying to give homes to animals. I wish the people who are complaining would just leave us alone."

Disputed rubble and hardcore at Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary at Bobbing, Sittingbourne
Disputed rubble and hardcore at Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary at Bobbing, Sittingbourne
Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary founder Amey James in mud when she first took over the 20-acre site in Iwade Road, Bobbing, a year ago
Happy Pants Ranch animal sanctuary founder Amey James in mud when she first took over the 20-acre site in Iwade Road, Bobbing, a year ago

The rubble was put down so volunteers could reach animals, like the cattle and chickens, without having to wade through mud.

Ms James said: "Some ended up knee-deep in mud. There are still wellies stuck across the site."

The sanctuary, which looks after 450 animals including 19 pigs, seven dogs, 28 cats, 34 turtles and terrapins, a flock of 40 geese and ducks, nearly 100 chickens and cockerels, nine cows, 15 sheep, 17 goats, two emus, 32 guinea pigs, three snakes, two lizards, six ponies, a peacock and 50 goldfish, has been plagued by bureaucracy.

It is battling Swale planners to get its agricultural land status changed to animal sanctuary and its cows and cockerels were served a notice by the council's environmental health team to keep quiet after complaints from neighbours.

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