Amazing Animal Encounters has a 5 Star Premises Rating
Licence number 19/01074/ANEST
The only animal handling activity provider accredited by the Children's Activities Association
Kent Wildlife Trust Garden Awards 2019 GOLD
Silver Gilt & Best Dragon Garden 2018
Group sessions, therapeutic animal assisted interventions, one:one, educational settings, bespoke sessions
Thank you for taking a look at Amazing Animal Encounters. My name is Maria and I am the owner and head handler.
Born and raised in rural Kent, I fell in love with wildlife and animals early on. Nature was respected and encouraged on my parent's smallholding and the gorgeous overgrown wildlife haven that was the farm they both worked on. Now a parent myself, living in a shepherds cottage on our smallholding, between Maidstone, Tonbridge and Royal Tunbridge Wells, I've been teaching my own children, and countless others, to love and respect animals and wildlife since 2005, when we started accepting unwanted animals into our home. Amazing Animal Encounters was born to support pets in need and was so popular, I left my job as a support youth worker at Kent County Council and went full time in 2011.
I live and work here with my two children and husband Ian, a rural boy living on a Yorkshire smallholding before he emigrated to New Zealand. Ian experienced countless exotic species in New Zealand and on his future travels around the world. This helped broaden our knowledge and understanding of natural habitats. Ian's fondest amazing animal encounter is snorkelling among the whale sharks of The Philippines.
Because of our strict travel welfare policy, we will not travel further than one hour from our location in Kent.
We were honoured to be part of a small DEFRA working group consulting on animal encounters alongside a handful of other encounter businesses over the last few years contributing to the Animal Activities Licensing law now in force
We are a provider of educational and therapeutic services and a safe and loving home to the animals rehomed here
We don't travel long distances, entertain large numbers, perform an outlandish show or give out sweets, party bags or provide 'extras'. We concentrate on providing an educational experience with the animals and the perfect environment for them to live in
There's no kissing crocodiles, snakes around necks or creatures on heads - their welfare and your well being come first. Everything we do is age appropriate - and safe. We conduct our sessions with dignity and respect. We believe access and interaction with animals is a privilege, not a right.
My animals live as part of our family in an environment rated 5 Stars by the local council
People ask "do you get funny looks when you walk the fox?" We don't see another single human soul on our walks. This is the view from the back of our orchard and where the fox, dog and tanuki all go for their walks. We have our own amazing animal encounters with wild foxes, badgers, buzzards and barn owls. It really is a beautiful part of the world
As well as my background in pre-school music teaching and youth work, we have a qualified teacher advising us on educational elements and we are an accredited member of the Children's Activities Association which gives parents a bench mark for children's activities by establishing and improving consistent standards & accreditation.
We follow the Animal-Assisted Interventions: Code
of Practice for the UK, the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the RSPCA's 5 Freedoms and
implement the 5 categories of enrichment.
We are happy to provide paperwork.
Our PLI, Risk
Assessment, Animal Establishment licence, Equal Opportunities Policy, Safeguarding Policy, Method Statement and DBS certificates have been checked by an independent body
We recommend members of the public ensure the company they are booking:
- Have valid, up to
date Public Liability Insurance and Employees/volunteer Liability Insurance
- Have handlers suitably qualified
or experienced, with animal management qualifications or provable
- Ask to see a copy of risk
assessment or handling procedure/method statement documents
- Check reviews on social media
- Ensure that the encounter company that they hire is licensed under The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. Licensees will have a licence number clearly displayed on their website and premises. It is a legal requirement for businesses providing services with animals either in person or virtually to have this.