37 exotic pets surrendered to a rescue at ‘Exotic Animal Surrender’ event in Bristol

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — A Wisconsin rescue group is working to prevent people from releasing exotic pets into the wild.

J & R Aquatic Animal Rescue held an exotic surrender event in Bristol this weekend, where people could drop off exotic animals – no questions asked.

The Menasha-based rescue holds exotic animal surrender events across Wisconsin on a monthly basis.

“People don’t know what to do with them if they can’t take care of them anymore, so we offer this as a resource to the community where they can bring them to a safe place,” said JRAAR’s director, John Moyles

Their mission is to take in unique animals, rather than them being released into the wild, which could be harmful to both the animal and the environment.

Their event in Bristol on Saturday brought 37 exotic surrenders, along with a colony of 500 roaches.

“We got some birds, we got a lot of turtles, a lot of lizards, we got some snakes, including a probably 8-foot python, which was neat,” Moyles said.

It’s typical for the rescue to take in 20 to 50 animals during each event. While Wisconsin’s exotic pet laws are more relaxed than other Midwest states, the rules can be complicated.

“It’s all municipality by municipality, and that changes from city to city,” Moyles said, “Some cities you can have big snakes, some you can’t have snakes at all. It really depends on where you live.”

Many owner surrenders are due to changes in housing or living conditions, where a safe surrender is the best option for the animal and its previous owner.

“You have animals like big snakes, birds, or fish, you might not be able to bring them wherever you want to go. So that’s where we step in, and we can help,” Moyles said.

Though JRAAR provides many helpful resources, Moyles hopes people will be mindful when considering an exotic pet.

“Do your homework, make sure you know what you’re getting into before you get into it, and make sure you can take care of the animal for its entire lifespan,” Moyles said.

J & R Aquatic Animal Rescue works with zoos, sanctuaries, other rescues and public adopters to find surrendered animals permanent homes.

They are holding an exotic surrender event in Milwaukee on Sept. 11.

For more information, click here.

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