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Harrods to shut pet department

Friday January 17th 2014

It once sold lions, elephants and alligators to the rich and famous, but Harrods is axing its famous pet department and replacing it with a womenswear section.

First opened in 1917 the pet department offered shoppers the opportunity to buy more exotic animals than cats and dogs. It was rumoured that Canadian actress Beatrice Lillie bought Noël Coward an alligator as a present, while former US president Ronald Reagan put in an order for a baby elephant.

Harrods could no longer sell such animals when the Endangered Species Act became law in 1976. Customers had to be content with more normal pets like guinea pigs and hamsters. It is a good idea to have Pet Insurance cover in case animals need medical treatment.

The change is being welcomed by animal charities that had criticised the pet department in the past. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Dogs Trust chief executive Clarissa Baldwin said a pet shop isn't a good place to sell puppies and kittens and the charity wasn't happy that the country's most famous department store was selling pets.

A Harrods spokesperson said the Pet Kingdom department was being closed to accommodate "exciting planned developments" in womenswear.

Copyright Press Association 2014

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