Photo Gallery | Pet Amnesty Day Nov 5 at Sea World

In an effort to keep unwanted exotic pets out of Florida’s native habitats, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and SeaWorld will host Exotic Pet Amnesty Day Nov. 5 at SeaWorld Orlando.

“We expect to get quite a few nonnative animals that day, so we need to make sure we have safe homes for them,” said Jenny Novak of the FWC.

“Released pets can survive in Florida’s wild areas. Often, pet owners don’t understand the difference between native and nonnative species, or they don’t realize the possible effects releasing a nonnative species can have,” she said. “This event gives pet owners who can no longer take care of their pets or no longer wish to keep them a legal, ethical option.”

Currently, the FWC is looking for potential adopters in Central Florida who are experienced pet owners and are willing to provide a home for one or two more animals. All adopters must fill out the proper application forms before they receive surrendered animals.

“This isn’t a free pet giveaway,” Novak said. “We’re looking for adopters with knowledge and expertise in caring for exotic pets, not people who have always wanted a pet and think this is an opportunity to try their hand at owning one that they don’t have to purchase.”

Exotic Pet Amnesty Day is free and open to the public. Exotic animals can be surrendered to the FWC at SeaWorld Orlando from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., free of charge, with no questions asked and no penalties.

“We will not penalize any pet owners who choose the responsible option of not releasing their nonnative pets into the wild. This is about curbing our ongoing problem of exotic fish and wildlife,” Novak said.

A veterinarian will examine each animal, and every attempt will be made to place all healthy animals with qualified adopters. Exotic Pet Amnesty Day is also a family event. Live animals will be on display. Experts will be on hand to talk about proper care of exotic pets, so people who are thinking about purchasing one can learn from credible sources before they buy. This is a chance for people to not only see exotic animals, but get up close and even touch them and learn about the responsibilities of owning a nonnative animal.

Anyone interested in adopting nonnative pets should download the adoption form from MyFWC.com/Nonnatives.

Adopters should have knowledge of the animal’s natural history and caging requirements and have proper facilities for the animals they are interested in adopting. There is no fee for being an adopter. Adopters and people who surrender pets at the Nov. 5 event will not have to pay the parking or admission fees to SeaWorld, unless they choose to visit the attraction.

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