Reptile amnesty day held by Suffolk County SPCA

September 7, 2013 11:28:04 AM PDT
The Suffolk County SPCA is granting amnesty to anyone who turned in illegal pets with no questions asked.

Residents were allowed to turn in anacondas, alligators, crocodiles, Komodo dragons, monitor lizards, pythons and venomous reptiles that are illegal to keep as pets during an event Saturday behind a Petco store in Selden.

Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says dozens of alligators and other dangerous reptiles have been abandoned on Long Island in recent years.

Gross says there were 16 abandoned alligators in Suffolk County in one nine-month period.

One gator was left in a plastic container at an Applebee's parking lot. Another was swimming in a river where people launch canoes and kayaks.

Gross said people buy alligators online or in states where they are legal and then abandon them when they grow too dangerous to handle.

"There's a reason that they're illegal," he said.

Possessing an alligator is a violation subject to a fine of up to $150 but abandoning one in a public place is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, Gross said.

The animals that are turned in will be sent to zoos and other safe locations.