Suffolk SPCA Hosts Illegal Reptile Amnesty Day

happy Hamptons monitor lizard
This happy monitor lizard can’t grasp the pet amnesty day concept, Photo: iStock/Thinkstock

Did you know that over the last several years, numerous alligators have been found in Long Island waterways? These frightening natives of much warmer climates were illegally released by owners who did not have the ability to care for the growing animals.

To prevent more dangerous animals being let loose in our area, Suffolk County SPCA, in cooperation with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife and USDA, is hosting an amnesty day for illegally possessed reptiles and amphibians this Sunday, November 9, from noon–3 p.m. at the Suffolk County SPCA, North County Complex, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Building 16, in Smithtown.

“The purpose of this effort is to get these reptiles and amphibians into a controlled environment where they can be cared for properly,” Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said in statement released this week.

This comes in the wake of the recent alligator issues, along with releases of snakes and other reptiles into communities in Suffolk County. People who are in possession of these animals unlawfully now have an opportunity to turn them in safely to the SPCA without fear of prosecution. The cold-blooded reptiles cannot survive Long Island winters in the wild.

Trained handlers will be available to accept the reptiles and amphibians from the public.

“Abandoned and dangerous reptiles and amphibians have become an all too common occurrence here on Long Island,” DEC Region 1 Director Peter A. Scully said, adding, “All too often, individuals do not realize the difficulties and complications that arise from owning one of these animals.” Scully noted that the DEC is proud to be part of the amnesty day and encouraged anyone who is attempting to care for an illegal reptile to take advantage of this “rare opportunity.”

Animals that will be accepted during the program are listed below.

All Venomous Reptiles

Large Constrictor Snakes
Burmese Python
Reticulated Python
African Rock Python
Green Anaconda
Yellow Anaconda
Australian Amethystine Python
Indian Python

Large Lizards / Monitors
Asiatic (water) Monitor
Nile Monitor
White Throat Monitor
Black Throat Monitor
Crocodile Monitor
Komodo Dragon

All species and sub-species of Crocodilia (Alligators, Crocodiles and Caimans)

Species that do not require permits, and/or are not threatened or endangered will not be accepted. No mammals will be accepted and unlawful possession of mammals will not fall under the amnesty offered by this program. A more inclusive illegal pet amnesty day was held in Westhampton on May 10 of this year.

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