Monkeys and snakes were among 25 animals Suffolk officials received Saturday in Holtsville during the county’s first-ever “amnesty day” for those who illegally own exotic animals.
Trained handlers accepted the illegal animals at the Town of Brookhaven’s Holtsville Ecology Center, including two common marmoset monkeys, an albino western diamondback rattlesnake, an American alligator, a green anaconda, an alligator snapping turtle and a common snapping turtle, according to a press release issued Sunday by the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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“The purpose of this effort was to get these animals into a controlled environment where they could be cared for properly,” Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross said. “People who were in possession of these animals unlawfully were able to turn them in to us without fear of prosecution.”
The event came about a year after state Department of Environmental Conservation officers found five alligators in the Peconic River — one of which they shot — and several others in areas elsewhere on Long Island.
In 2012, authorities recovered nine alligators over a span of just a few weeks in Suffolk County alone.
In addition to representatives from Suffolk County SPCA and Brookhaven Town’s Ecology Center, officials from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife and the USDA also assisted in the event.