Leapin' lizards: The Suffolk County SPCA, in cooperation with State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has announced it will be hosting an Amnesty Day next month -- for illegally possessed reptiles and amphibians.
The amnesty day program, the second of its kind in Suffolk, will allow owners of illegal venomous snakes and constrictors, as well as dangerous reptiles, to surrender the animals to authorities without penalty.
The program will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7, between noon and 4 p.m., at Petco, 1100 Middle Country Rd., Selden.
Authorities said that, to date, 18 alligators have been unlawfully released in the metropolitan area, including five this summer in Suffolk County.
"The purpose of this effort is to get these reptiles and amphibians into a controlled environment where they can be cared for properly," Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk SPCA said in a statement Thursday.
"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," Gross said.
Trained handlers will be available to accept the reptiles and amphibians. People are asked to bring the animals in containers, which will be returned on a numbered basis.
"Abandoned and dangerous reptiles and amphibians have become an all too common occurrence here on Long Island," the DEC Region 1 director, Peter A. Scully, said in a statement. "All too often, individuals do not realize the difficulties and complications that arise from owning one of these animals."
Animals that will be accepted during the amnesty program include: all reptiles that are venomous; large constrictor snakes, including Burmese pythons, reticulated pythons, African Rock pythons, green anacondas, yellow anacondas, Australian Amethystine pythons and Indian pythons; large lizards, including Asiatic (water) monitors, Nile monitors, whitethroat monitors, black-throat monitors, crocodile monitors and Komodo dragons; all species and subspecies of Crocodilia (alligators, crocodiles and caimans).
Species that do not require permits, and/or are not threatened or endangered will not be accepted. No mammals will be accepted, either, officials said.
For more information, contact the Suffolk SPCA at 631-382-7722, the DEC at 631-444-0250 or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 516-825-3950.