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Zoo Miami To Accept Exotic Pets During Amnesty Day

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – People who have exotic pets they can no longer handle will have a chance to do what is best for the animals during Nonnative Pet Amnesty Day which is an an effort to keep unwanted exotic pets out of Florida's native ecosystems.

The FWC and Zoo Miami will host Exotic Pet Amnesty Day, Saturday March 10th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Zoo Miami located at 12400 SW 152nd Street.

Exotic reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, and mammals will be accepted; domestic pets will not be accepted.

No questions of owners will be asked.

It is illegal to release any nonnative species in Florida, but many pet owners are not aware of this regulation or know that most captive species will not survive in the wild.

"The main purpose is to give pet owners an alternative to releasing their exotic pets into the wild," said Scott Hardin, the FWC's Exotic Species section leader. "Many of the 133 species of nonnative fish and wildlife established in the wild in Florida resulted from releases by pet owners."

Examples of exotics pets surrendered at past Pet Amnesty events include Burmese pythons, parrots, monkeys and even turtles.

The event is free and open to the public. Animal experts will be on hand to answer questions and help teach people how to be responsible pet owners. Kids can get close to live animals on display.

The commission is also seeking people to adopt the surrendered animals.

A veterinarian will examine each animal, and the healthy animals will be placed with qualified adopters.

"We are looking for adopters with the knowledge and expertise to care for exotic pets," said Jenny Novak, who coordinates the FWC's Exotic Pet Amnesty program. "We expect quite a few nonnative animals to be turned over at the Exotic Pet Amnesty Day in Miami, so we want to make sure we have safe homes for them."

So far all healthy animals that have been surrendered have been placed with families, exhibitors or commercial dealers, according to the commission.

Click here for more information on Pet Amnesty Day and how to become a qualified adopter.

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