Residents can turn in any protected, endangered or threatened animals that require special New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permits without fear of penalties or questioning on Saturday, Oct. 10.
Brookhaven Town’s second Amnesty Day at the Holtsville Ecology Center will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and people owning dangerous or illegals animals will be able to hand them over to trained professionals from the town, the DEC, the wildlife service and the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The agencies will relocate animals turned in that cannot be kept at the ecology center.
“All too often people will harbor unlicensed or illegal pets without realizing the dangers they pose or the amount of care they require,” Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro said in a press release. “This often leads to these animals being dumped by someone who once had it as a pet. An example of this is the 25-pound alligator snapping turtle that was recently found in the Nissequogue River in Smithtown.”
That turtle, a freshwater reptile that officials said had enough power to bite off a human finger or toe, was discovered in the stream opposite the Smithtown Bull on Route 25 in Smithtown in late August. It is not indigenous to Long Island — it is usually found in the region from eastern Texas to the Florida panhandle.
At the Amnesty Day on Oct. 10, residents can “do the right thing for the safety of their neighbors and for the well-being of these animals,” Losquadro said.
Last year’s town event saw 25 animals turned in at the ecology center, including a western diamondback rattlesnake, a green anaconda, four boa constrictors, an American alligator and two marmosets. It was the most successful amnesty event the SPCA has ever had.
“The purpose of this effort is to get these illegally possessed animals into a controlled environment where they can be cared for properly,” SPCA Chief Roy Gross said. “People who are in possession of these animals unlawfully can turn them in to us without fear of prosecution. No one will be asked to give their name.”
The ecology center is located at 249 Buckley Road in Holtsville.
For more information, call the Suffolk County SPCA at 631-382-7722, NYSDEC at 631-444-0250 or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 516-825-3950.