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Monkeys, alligator turned in at Holtsville amnesty event

One of two marmoset monkeys turned in during

One of two marmoset monkeys turned in during an amnesty event for illegal animals co-organized by the Suffolk SPCA and held at the Town of Brookhaven's Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center on May 10, 2014. Credit: Suffolk SPCA

The Suffolk County SPCA held its third amnesty event Saturday for illegal animals, and for the first time accepted mammals.

They weren’t disappointed.

Among the animals turned in at the Town of Brookhaven’s Holtsville Wildlife and Ecology Center were two marmoset monkeys, part of what SPCA Chief of Department Roy Gross called “the most successful amnesty that we ever had.”

Saturday’s event -- co-organized by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and including a USDA veterinarian -- took in several types of turtles, an albino western diamondback rattlesnake, four boa constrictors, an American alligator and an injured pigeon.

Gross was especially happy with the results after seeing many people come to turn in the animals with children in their cars. He said many of then were in tears over having to give up the animals. But he added that many realized what they had done was wrong after obtaining the animals but hadn't known what to do with them.

“A lot of people want something more exotic than everybody else. They think it’s cool,” said Gross. “It’s not cool.”

He noted that several alligators have had to be captured in the area after being released into the wild by owners.

“If you’re thinking of getting one of these exotic pets, do not do it,” said Gross. “They do not make good pets. . . . There are too many we’ve had released on Long Island. They’re an accident waiting to happen; besides that, it’s illegal.” 

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