July 25, 2009

100 exotic pets turned in at Conn. zoo

More than 100 pets, enough to stock a small zoo, were turned in Saturday during Connecticut's first amnesty day for exotic animals.

Most of the exotics brought to the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport were reptiles, the Connecticut Post reported. They included an 8-foot boa constrictor, alligators, Burmese pythons and two Succalta tortoises.

The event was inspired by a chimpanzee attack in February that left a friend of the chimp's owner maimed. Under state law, ownership of animals classified as dangerous is illegal, but many exotic species are legal with proper permits.

Many of the owners turned in their animals because they had become unmanageably big.

Andrew Bowie of Norwich said the tortoises, Spike and Spot, could be held in one hand when he and his wife bought them. Each one is now the size of a hubcap.

We didn't know they would get that big in eight years, he said. I like them a lot, but they don't give you any love. They just want food.

The pets will be examined by a veterinarian to make sure they are healthy, then moved to zoos or nature centers. The state Department of Environmental Protection has promised none will be euthanized.