The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve are holding an Exotic Pet Amnesty Day event on Saturday, May 19, in St. Petersburg. People may surrender their exotic pets at the event, whether they are being kept legally or illegally, without penalty or cost. The Exotic Pet Amnesty Program offers a legal alternative to releasing exotic pets that owners can no longer keep and helps to reduce the number of nonnative species being introduced into the wild.
This event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, 1101 Country Club Way S., St. Petersburg, FL 33705. Live animals will be on display and experts from the FWC will be on-site with information about caring for exotic pets, responsible pet ownership and potential ecological impacts of invasive species in Florida. The event is free but access to the Preserve trails is not included.
Surrendered exotic pets will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and given a health exam by a veterinarian before being made available for adoption that same day to pre-registered, experienced individuals who can care for them. Animals that will be accepted for surrender include nonnative species of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates. Domestic animals, such as cats, dogs, pigs and chickens, will not be accepted.
Animals will be made available for adoption after 2 p.m. Exotic pet adopters need to be experienced and must have already applied and been approved by the FWC. Potential adopters should bring their acceptance letters and any necessary permits with them. Becoming an adopter is free, but you are required to register a minimum of four days prior to the event to adopt an animal. Adopter applications can be found at MyFWC.com/Nonnatives by clicking on “How to become an FWC exotic pet adopter.”
Exotic Pet Amnesty events are held around the state throughout the year. For additional information about Exotic Pet Amnesty Day, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives or call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681). Exotic pet owners who cannot attend this event may call this number year-round for assistance in finding a new home for their animal.
For more information about adopting exotic pets, visit MyFWC.com/Nonnatives and click on “Exotic Pet Amnesty Program.”