Details released in North Fort Myers animal facility under investigation

Reporter: Michael Hudak
Published: Updated:
A porcupine sits in a cage with feces at Bad Attitude Everglades Exotics in North Fort Myers. (CREDIT: FWC)

Wildlife investigators cited a North Fort Myers wildlife facility and seized animals after they found feces festering in animal enclosures and standing water with apparent mosquito infestations.

In one case, an investigator with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said four dead rats were decomposing over a bird enclosure at the Bad Attitude Everglades Exotics, leaving the birds exposed to their rotting carcasses, according to the report from the FWC.

“We have so many rats,” a woman at the animal facility told the investigator. “We’re being infested with rats lately and the problem is that they are getting into the bird food.”

The inspection, which took place in February, led to 160 violations and the seizure of more than 200 exotic animals from the Nalle Road facility.

The FWC said it also intends to revoke Carl Laquidara’s wildlife permits. Laquidara owns Bad Attitude Everglades Exotics.

Authorities seized venomous reptiles, crocodiles, alligators, porcupine, kinkajous, ring-tailed lemurs, various species of birds, numerous species of tortoise and others.

Other issues include leaving cage doors unlocked, the mislabeling of animals, improper documentation and issues with snakebite protocol.

A photo shows where alligator nestlings were kept at an animal facility in North Fort Myers. (CREDIT: FWC)

Issues were found with the enclosures for alligators and crocodiles as well. Three Nile crocodiles and seven American Crocodiles did not have basking/or dry land in their enclosures.

However, Rene Diaz, who built all of the cages and was there when FWC seized the animals, said this was all a big misunderstanding.

Others who know the place also wonder how this could have happened.

“There’s so many different animals out there that people can have. So, FWC has so many things that they have to follow, and it’s important, you know? Every animal should clean water and they should have water in the water dish. It should be clean. But, if FWC comes in and you don’t have a water dish or if the water dish is dry, that’ll be a citation,” said Adam Pottruck, with Adam’s Animal Encounters.

The animal facility is not open to the public.

Diaz said it’s a breeding facility. Diaz also said the FWC has become stricter with its code and how it enforces it.

Those who work in this kind of facility say they have never seen so many violations in one place.

“I’ve never heard of anything of this sort. People try to avoid one or two violations, how somebody could get that many is beyond me,” Pottruck said. “It really is. I mean, I’m not … it’s just baffling.”

The people who run Bad Attitude Everglades Exotics said they will take this to court and that the violations are false.

They said they want their animals back.

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