Got a soft spot for an ocelot?
Well, if you’ve got one of those exotic big cats in Suffolk County — anywhere in New York State, actually — guess what? They’re illegal without a special permit.
Which is why Saturday is an important date for you if you own an ocelot or any other illegal, unlicensed exotic mammal, reptile or amphibian.
The Suffolk SPCA, in cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, is hosting an “Amnesty Day” for surrendering illegally possessed species — that is, animals or pets, that are protected, endangered or threatened and so require special state DEC and Fish and Wildlife permits. If you don’t have one of those permits or licenses, the SPCA and DEC are asking you to surrender the pet Saturday.
No questions asked.
The surrender site for Amnesty Day is the headquarters of the Suffolk County SPCA, 725 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Building 16, in Hauppauge. The hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“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 in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Trained handlers will be available to accept the animals. Included in the surrender program are a variety of snakes, such as Burmese pythons, green anacondas, Australian Amethystine pythons and others, as well as large lizards such as Asiatic monitors, Nile monitors, crocodile monitors, Komodo dragons, all varieties of alligators, crocodiles and caimans.
For more information, call the SPCA at 631-382-7722.