Emotional goodbyes as owners surrender exotic pets - FOX 13 News

Emotional goodbyes as owners surrender exotic pets

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

Dozens of exotic animal owners handed over their pets Saturday during Pet Amnesty Day at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in St. Petersburg.

The event allows people to turn in animals, legal or illegal, without fear of prosecution.

"At first it didn't seem like it was going to be hard but now it is, just knowing I'm going to be in my house and walk in there and not see her anymore," said Krystal Quinn of Tampa, who gave up two iguanas because she didn't feel she could properly care for them anymore. "I wanted to bring him here because I now that he'd have a good home and I know that he probably really wouldn't be happy outside."

People turned in more than 30 animals, including a chameleon, an Australian Pygmy opossum, turtles and snakes.

"[Organizers] are doing an excellent job of finding good, adoptive homes for every single animal that's being brought in," said Greg Hebert, a Bradenton microbiologist who volunteered at the event, adding releasing the animals into the wild the worst idea. "It's bad for the animal, certainly, with them not being able to find the right food sources and it's bad for the ecosystem."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission paired some of the pets up with new owners, many of whom are trained to handle these types of animals.

"I know that they're going to be in a better place," Quinn said. "Just like when you let a loved one go to heaven, you know that they're going to be in a better place, so [the iguana] is going to be in her own little heaven."

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