The Ringworm Saga Continues

A never ending story

The photograph above is Leo, Ian and Julie’s African Pygmy Hedgehog, from the time he was undergoing treatment for his ringworm infection.

This blog has been inactive for the past couple of months because I have been away teaching kids my version of English at a summer camp in the Alps.

As many of you will know, over the past few months this blog has been reporting on the case of a “breeder”, Heavenlyhogs, who sold two pet hedgehogs that subsequently went on to infect three people with ringworm. The story is not about the fact that the new owners were infected with ringworm, but the appalling manner the breeder dealt with the matter when it came to light.

The aftermath of this story resulted in literally hundreds of forum posts on various exotic pet forums in both the UK and the USA.

Rather than repeat the saga in this post I direct you to this page where you can begin reading the whole sorry tale:

Introduction to the Ringworm story

Here are the links to the various forum posts which formed the source material for this blog’s report:

Heavenlyhogs is banned from  the Pygmy Hogs UK Forum

Heavenlyhogs’ first post on the Hedgehog Central Forum

Ian and Julie’s rather angry post on Reptile Forums UK

Heavenlyhogs’s “No Criminal” post on Reptile Forums UK

Ongoing discussion about the story on the Pygmy Hogs UK Forum

At the end of May I wrote to my local MP asking her to clarify the law concerning the importing of pet hedgehogs into the UK. She contacted the ministry concerned and sent me their reply in July. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly like to thank Ms Siân James MP and her staff for their help in this matter.

The reason for writing to my MP was that the breeder concerned, Heavenlyhogs, claimed that she had accidentally illegally imported several hedgehogs into the UK. She goes on to say that once she realised her mistake she contacted the appropriate authorities (DEFRA) and they gave her permission to “home quarantine” the hedgehogs. There is strong circumstantial evidence that these illegally imported hedgehogs went on to infect Heavenlyhogs’ herd. It is worthy of note that both Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and now the Animal Health Central Operations Services categorically state that “home quarantine” would not be allowed under any circumstances.

An online newspaper article about the illegal importation of the hedgehogs

My MP’s and the Ministry’s replies concerning this can be found in the following two links:

Letter from Ms Siân James MP

Letter from Animal Health Central Operations Services

Some of the people that have made comments on this blog about this story have wondered why I got involved in this and continue to be involved in something that is none of my business. I suppose I’m just a stubborn old SOB who knows that people like Heavenlyhogs believe that if they procrastinate long enough, people will just get fed up and go away. Well not this time…

My next step is to contact the Trading Standards office and report the suspected illegal importation of Pygmy Hedgehogs into the UK.

I’ll keep you informed about how that goes.