Gazing into a pet shop window, a passerby might think that owning a boa constrictor or baby iguana seems like a fantastic, albeit impulsive, idea. However, these pets grow and their custodians struggle to provide adequate pet care, the pet owners may seek a way out of their ownership responsibilities.
This weekend, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) will hold an amnesty event, allowing the owners of nonnative pets to hand over their animals – no questions asked.
The event, which the FFWCC sponsors several times a year, has been held in response to owners releasing their exotic animals into the wild, where some species can infringe on the habitats of native animals, the Tampa Tribune reports.
As an alternative, biologists at the wildlife commission will attempt to find adoptive owners for the animals who are qualified and able to care for them.
"We expect to get quite a few nonnative animals that day so we need to make sure we have safe homes for them," commission spokeswoman Jenny Tinnell said in a news release made public last month. "Often, pet owners don’t understand the difference between native and nonnative species or they don’t realize the possible effects releasing a nonnative fish or animal can have."
It is a violation of Florida law to release exotic animals into the wild.