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These four gators were captured in the Peconic River in April 2013. (Credit: DEC courtesy, file)
Perhaps hoping to curb a recent trend of abandoning alligators on Long Island, authorities announced this week a first-ever “amnesty day” in Suffolk County for those who illegally own exotic animals.
“People who are in possession of these animals unlawfully can turn them in to us without fear of prosecution,” said Suffolk SPCA chief Roy Gross, whose group is hosting the May 10 event with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S Department of Agriculture. “No one will be asked to give their name.”
The announcement comes about a year after state Department of Environmental Conservation officers found five alligators in the Peconic River — one of which they shot — and several others in areas elsewhere on Long Island.
In 2012, authorities recovered nine alligators over a span of just a few weeks in Suffolk County alone.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Town of Brookhaven Wildlife and Ecology Center at 249 Buckley Road in Holtsville.
Read more on alligators being found in Suffolk County.
Trained handlers will be on hand to accept the animals from the public, officials said.
“The purpose of this effort is to get these illegally possessed animals into a controlled environment where they can be cared for properly,” Mr. Gross said.