Ambitious plans to open 'miniature zoo' in Exmouth by the end of this year
PUBLISHED: 14:26 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:30 12 February 2019
The owner of an Exmouth animal rescue service has revealed plans to open a miniature zoo in the town so people can handle exotic animals.
Jon Spry - who heads up CJS Exotics Rescue with his partner Chelsea Dodd - says the venture is part of a big expansion plan, with the venture earmarked to be up and running by the end of this year.
The couple look after 90 animals in their converted double garage at their home, and fund the initiative solely from their own pockets.
Personal trainer Jon is also seeking £1,000 in donations so he can carry on rescuing animals in need.
He said: “We are looking to raise £1,000, which will help us build more enclosures - as some need to be custom-built.
“We take in animals in need and have nowhere to go.
“Since January 1 this year, we have taken on ten animals, which is quite a lot.”
Jon started in the hobby as 12-year-old, when he bought his first pets - two lizards.
He began rescuing animals when a reptile store in Teignmouth closed down and was called upon to help. From there, he continued to rescue animals in need - running CJS for the last ten years.
“We had been looking at getting charity status,” Jon added.
“However, we would have to earn £5,000 a year just through the charity.
“There are not enough raffles in the world to get that kind of money.
“Any amount of donation would help - even £1 would bring us a step closer to helping the animals out there that have not reached us yet.
“All animal that comes to us go straight to the vet for a full health check.
“About 40 per cent of animals that come to us are healthy but around 60 per cent need treatment, which with some, is ongoing until they are cleared by the vet.
“We are asking for help so we can expand and be able to take in any animal that needs our help.
“Our goal is to be able to save more of these exotic species and give them a forever home that they deserve.”
Aside from the £1,000 donation appeal, Jon says plans are underway to open a mini zoo in Exmouth.
He added: “I would love to get a small unit in Exmouth and open it, so people can come and learn about the animals and touch them.
“We are also planning to do kids’ parties so youngsters get more one-on-one time with the animals.”
To donate to CJS Exotics Rescue, visit https://www.gofundme.com/cjs-exotics-rescue