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Long IslandNassau

SPCA considers summonses for East Rockaway wallaby owner

On Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, the Nassau County SPCA received a call that there was a wallaby living in the garage of an East Rockaway home, which is illegal in the Town of Hempstead. The animal was found to be in a small cage with no food or water. The matter is currently under investigation, but the homeowner might be facing animal cruelty charges. (Credit: Jim Staubitser)

Authorities are considering filing summonses against the owner of a young wallaby found Tuesday living in an East Rockaway garage.

Nassau County SPCA officials discovered the wallaby — a smaller cousin of the kangaroo that is native to Australia — in the garage of a home on Seawane Road after a phone call alerted them to the animal’s presence.

The owner, Larry Wallach, has previously rehabilitated other exotic animals and worked with the Nassau and Suffolk SPCA organizations in the past, Nassau County SPCA spokesman Gary Rogers said.

Newsday has reported that Wallach has had a tiger, an Asiatic lion cub and a cougar at his home.

“We’re trying to verify where Mr. Wallach is,” Rogers said Wednesday, noting that someone else answered the home’s door Tuesday. That person will not be charged because the wallaby “wasn’t in his care and custody.”

Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said the town’s building department would issue any summonses in conjunction with the SPCA. Wallach could be issued a summons for harboring an animal that is considered wild in its natural habitat, Deery said.

The SPCA is continuing its investigation and waiting for further reports from the veterinarian, Dr. David Kolins of the Mineola Animal Hospital. Kolins could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

“We’re putting everything together, trying to figure out where [the wallaby] came from,” Rogers said. “Large cats and wallabies, they don’t belong living in residential areas, and they don’t belong living in small cages.”

Rogers wouldn’t comment about Wallach specifically, but said “I think that everybody should know better” than to raise a wallaby in a residential area.

“These exotic animals are not pets,” he said.

SPCA officials discovered the wallaby — which has not yet been named — in a dog-run type enclosure covered in sheets, Rogers said. The young male animal was “severely underweight” and was suffering from muscle atrophy.

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