Amnesty day for owners of non-native pets being held at Zoo Miami

Wildlife officials hoping to crack down on problem

JUPITER, Fla. - Non-native species are a persistent threat to our state's ecosystem and can also pose dangers for people. There is a new push for non-native pet owners to help solve the problem without payment or penalty.

This week, a python measuring ten feet was wrangled bravely by a tour boat guide in the Everglades. "The first thing that comes to mind is the situation we have with pythons," said David Hitzig, Executive Director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter. Hitzig says that he has seen someone's poor pet choice become a community's concern. "Either they were kept in cages and were allowed to escape or people couldn't take care of them anymore so they turn around and let the animals go," he said.

This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Zoo Miami, a Pet Amnesty Day is being held. People can surrender their non-native pets free of charge and with no penalties.

Hitzig says this is a persistent problem in south Florida that usually begins with a human making a poor decision when picking a pet. "It has such negative impacts on the environment and could potentially have dangerous impacts to people."


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