Originally famed for being the place that you could buy anything, Harrods has closed its infamous Animal Kingdom, that has sold everything from lions to guinea pigs since it first opened its doors in 1917, to make room for another womenswear section.
From an Alligator gifted to Noel Coward to a baby elephant named Gertie for Ronald Reagan, the early days of Harrods’ pet department were filled with intriguing and exotic creatures. The most famous being Christian the Lion who was bought by two Australian backpackers in 1969 for the price of 250 guineas (£3500). The lion lived with its owners John Rendall and Anthony Bourke on the Kings Road until it unsurprisingly outgrew its abode and was released into the wild in Kenya a year later by conservationist George Adamson.
Of course, such infamy often leads to uproar and when it became common knowledge that the store’s menagerie was better stocked than London Zoo, The 1976 Endangered Species Act was passed and the luxury pet store reduced its rather tropical tastes down to the finest domestic specimens money can buy.
Up until today, you could leave the sartorial madness of the store and be surrounded by a host of Pedigree pugs and Chihuahuas ready to hop right into your newly purchased Celine tote.
The Quatari royal family’s fund Qutar Holding, who currently owns the department store has apparently closed the area to make room for a further extension to the store's womenswear department, which currently boasts two levels, as part of a £200 million refurbishment.
"The Pet Kingdom department will close to make way for further exciting planned developments in our womenswear offering," a spokesperson for Harrods said.
It seems a little sad that such a famous part of London’s history has closed to open up more floor space for luxury goods rather than designer doggies, but the news has been welcomed by many animal rights groups, as The Dog's Trust chief executive Clarissa Baldwin told The Telegraph:
"A pet shop is not an appropriate environment in which to sell puppies and kittens and our supporters have long expressed their concern about the UK's most famous department store selling pets."
SO, while you can continue to buy top of the range pet wear in Harrods, you will not be getting the dog.