A SHOP owner says he has received death threats since opening a furs store in Doncaster town centre.
Mink Couture, which sells expensive animal furs, has been targeted by a string of animal rights activists since opening its doors a month ago.
And police are now monitoring the business after a number of angry protests outside the Hall Gate shop.
But the owner of the boutique, who refuses to be named for fear of further reprisals, says he will not be driven out by demonstrations.
He said: “I have suffered a lot of harassment and abuse from these people and my wife and children are too scared to come into the shop because of what has happened.
“I have had death threats through social networking sites and it can be very intimidating. This was meant to be a business for my wife to run but she is too scared to come anywhere near.”
The shop, which also has an online mail order website, sells an exclusive variety of real mink and fox fur coats, cashmere capes and other luxury garments - many priced at thousands of pounds with some items selling at £13,000.
A Facebook group entitled Close Mink Couture has been set up and has 86 members and states: “Mink Couture in Doncaster exclusively sell mink fur. This is cruel and barbaric. They don’t like you protesting their draconian attitude to animals though! Let’s close this death shop now!”
Animal rights group Manchester Animal Action and Animal Rights UK have both been involved in weekend demonstrations outside the shop, carrying details and photos on their websites. There is no suggestion either group are behind any death threats.
On one, a spokesman for MAA wrote: “Our interaction with the passing public showed that the vast majority of locals support our efforts and do not wish to see a blatantly cruel and heartless business thriving.
“Many stopped to chat with us as we distributed leaflets, asking what they can do to get involved and volunteering to write to their council and the owners of the rented shop property. Many will be making a point to turn up to the daily demos taking place in front of the shop, others will be ordering leaflets to distribute to friends and family, entering the shop to remind the owners that they are unwelcome in Doncaster and sending messages of disapproval through their website.”
The Star rang both MAA and Animal Rights UK but no comment was available.
The shop owner, who has been forced to keep the premises locked during the day, said: “This is a small, family business and the problems started within days of opening. Selling mink fur is legal and we are registered with the International Fur Trade Association but there are people out there who have a problem with what we do and want to force us out of business. A minority are spoiling it because we have had a lot of positive feedback from customers.”
A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “We are aware of protesters outside a fur shop in Doncaster.
“South Yorkshire Police are monitoring the situation and protests have been minor.”