SANFORD, Fla., May 10, 2019—On Saturday, June 1, residents of Central Florida will be allowed to surrender their exotic pets from 10 AM to 2 PM without penalty or cost, whether they are being kept legally or illegally.
The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), will be hosting a Pet Amnesty Day at the Zoo’s front entrance. The Exotic Pet Amnesty Program offers an alternative to releasing unwanted pets and helps reduce the number of nonnative species being released into Florida habitats.
This free event is open to the public. Professionals from each organization will be onsite with information about caring for exotic pets, responsible pet ownership, and potential ecological impacts of invasive species in Florida. Animals that will be accepted include nonnative species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish, and invertebrates. Domestic animals such as dogs, cats guinea pigs, and rabbits will not be accepted.
Please note—finding homes for large pond turtles including red-eared sliders, yellow-bellied sliders, cooters, chicken turtles, and redbelly turtles can take longer than a year. Owners of these turtles should contact the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline.
Some surrendered animals will be made available for adoption to pre-registered individuals the same day. Exotic pet adopters are required to be experienced and must be approved by the FWC prior to the event. There are no adoption fees, but potential adopters must register a minimum of one week before the event to adopt an animal. Approved adopters must bring their acceptance letters with them to the event.
For more information and adoption applications, please visit www.myfwc.com/nonnatives or call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IVE-GOT1 (888-483-4681). Exotic pet owners who cannot attend the event can call this number year-round for assistance in finding a new home for their animal.