How many people in Sutton own an ostrich? How many animals do the council freeze every year? Read some of the weirdest Freedom of Information requests submitted to Sutton Council

Somebody asked the council how many Lions, Tigers and Ostriches there are in Sutton

Somebody asked the council how many Lions, Tigers and Ostriches there are in Sutton

First published in News
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Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Sutton

Ever wondered how many animals the council freezes every year?

Somebody did, and it is just one example of a whole multitude of weird questions the public have submitted to Sutton Council.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 means public bodies have to release information to members of the public if requested. 

Information can only be withheld if releasing it would breach data protection laws or pose a risk to national security.

A request can also be denied if it would take staff too much time to deal with, or the response would prejudice a criminal investigation.

The Sutton Guardian asked the local council for a run-down of some of the most bizarre submissions they have received, and the people of Sutton did not disappoint.

One member of the public with extra-terrestrial curiosities asked: "Could you please give me information relating to the amount of UFO reports in Sutton each year?

"Specifically, the amount of reports of UFOs to your council each year on average."

Another person seemed intent on exposing a network of underground zoos in Sutton, and asked: "(Please tell me) The number of owners of the following animals, legally deemed as dangerous for which an annual licence is required: Tigers, Lions, Leopards, Lynx, Panther, other non-domestic cat breeds.

"Also; Monkeys, other primates, Ostriches, Poisonous snakes, Crocodiles, Bison & Boar."

Erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey also made the list, when someone asked how many copies of the book are held in the council’s library.

Bizarrely someone even asked how many animals the council freezes every year which are then retrieved by their owners.

Sarah Milne, customer care manager at Sutton Council, said: "The legislation allows citizens to ask for information from public bodies and every now and then we get some very curious requests, that do not immediately stand out as things that are a daily part of our business. 

"We take every request for information seriously and deal with them in accordance with our legal obligations.  

"Sometimes it is for research or something someone clearly is passionate about and we do our very best to help."

Some of the other requests include: how many bottles of wine are kept as an investment, in what circumstance is the culvert leading from Carshalton Park to Carshalton High Street flooded, and how many clairvoyant meetings are held on council premises?

Do you have a weird question you would like the council to answer? Do you own a monkey or another exotic animal?

Call the news desk on 020 8722 6358 or email

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