FWC offers amnesty to exotic pet owners

Author: Morgan Frances
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – This weekend, people who own exotic pets or invasive species can surrender them, no questions asked. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has paired up with drop-off locations for what’s called the “Exotic Pet Amnesty Day.”

Bia Asplund and her husband are visiting Southwest Florida from Sweden.

“We love animals, and we love to walk around in the nature,” Asplund said, “and this is a good way to see that here in Florida.”

Somewhere she doesn’t want to see these exotic animals, however, is around her yard.

“I wouldn’t like one of those walking around in my neighborhood,” she exclaimed.

That’s why FWC is hosting the Exotic Pet Amnesty Day; to keep invasive species that don’t belong here out of the wild.

“They end up giving them to us or finding a home to relocate them,” said Jose Pizarro, an Animal Care Tech at the Calusa Nature Center, “which is always a better idea than necessarily letting a snake go,” he continued.

Examples of animals that live in Florida, but shouldn’t, include the Nile Monitor Lizard that’s been seen in Cape Coral and the Burmese Python that’s been spotted throughout the Everglades. Owning an exotic animal animal without the proper permits could result in fines up to $500 or six months in jail.

“A lot of people don’t necessarily drop off any kind of venomous snakes, or anything they shouldn’t have,” Pizarro said, “because they’re in the fear of getting in trouble, and that’s what the amnesty day is about.”

This Saturday, people can surrender their exotic pets at the North Collier Regional Park for free, no questions asked!

For more information, visit the FWC Exotic Pet Amnesty Day website by clicking here.

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