Skip to Main Content

Exotic ‘Pets’ Spared Abandonment

Written by PETA | November 9, 2011

A temporary booth set up in Orlando by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) started to look like a scene from The Jungle Book after the agency gave “amnesty” to people in possession of exotic animals banned under Florida law and agreed to take in the animals and place them in facilities equipped to care for them.

The point of the agency’s first Exotic Pet Amnesty Day wasn’t to cut illegal animal owners a break—it was to keep owners from simply turning reptiles, turtles, sugar gliders, and other exotic animals loose in the wild, where they would disrupt the local ecosystem and perish slowly and painfully.

Abandonment of exotic animals—who are usually purchased on impulse by unprepared and uninformed consumers—is just one of many serious problems associated with the exotic-pet industry. Many exotic animals are stolen out of their habitats in the wild, torn from their families, and shipped in cramped, filthy containers across the world before being warehoused in massive mills, awaiting their ultimate destination: pet stores, including pet-trade giants PETCO and PetSmart.

A PETA investigation into international animal dealer U.S. Global Exotics revealed that animals were crammed into pillowcases, shipping crates, troughs, and even plastic bottles, sometimes for weeks at a time. Many who were sick or dying were frozen to death in a freezer. Our investigation resulted in the largest animal seizure in history, the closure of the facility, and the issuing of an arrest warrant by the federal government for owner Jasen Shaw. But exotic animals are still suffering at the hands of other dealers like Rainbow World Exotics and Sun Pet Ltd., which supply PETCO and PetSmart stores across the country. Despite evidence of systemic cruelty and neglect at these small-animal factory farms, PETCO and PetSmart refused to sever ties with Rainbow and Sun Pet and continue to buy animals from them.

Good for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for preventing animals acquired on a whim from suffering uncertain fates in a concrete jungle far from their natural homes. To help do the same, click here to e-mail PETCO and PetSmart and demand that they stop selling animals.

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • Veronica says:

    I never knew how pet stores got their animals. All I knew is I had a friend who kept giving her kittens to a pet store because she didn’t believe in spay/neuter (and until her cat finally gave it’s last batch of kittens with Feline Leukemia and the mother passed away, there was nothing I could do to convince her otherwise). Thank you for this information, PETA. I am addicted to your Blog!

  • Madeleine says:

    I feel bad for the workers! It’s not like they want to work under these conditions. They obviously had no choice!!!

  • NDsnakes says:

    Not all exotic animals are bought from facilities like that! I, for example, love snakes. I have one corn snake who is a great little creature–she is friendly, docile, and very beautiful. She was not from the wild, Petco, Petsmart, or a huge exotic animal breeder like Sun Co. Instead, I got her from a small breeder in Ohio where all of the snakes were kept in immaculate conditions. I even got to see all of the setups, and her color (butter) definitely does not occur in the wild! Estelle is not depressed. She eats frozen/thawed mice and loves to play and explore. She does not bark, shed fur, defecate in the house, need constant attention, or costly vet visits. In my opinion, snakes make the perfect pet, especially for allergy sufferers like myself. I love snakes, and they are definitely not like PETA portrays them to be. Nicole and Estelle

  • Fiorella says:

    STOP !!!!! NOW !!!!!!

  • Petro says:

    This is pure greediness to sell exotic animals for money and not even thinking about the poor animals themselves! They DO NOT want to spend their lives in cages – do you???:?:?

  • Elena says:


  • Evin Phoenix says:

    Please stop selling animals!!!!!

  • KashmereKatt says:

    This is disgusting & abhorant abuse. Nicole, I completely agree with you as to what their punishment should be, except for it really should be much for these creatures (they aren’t even good enough for the term “animal”). My heart just bleeds for these poor tortured & terrified exotics. It, unfortunately, must be a real relief to these frightened animals when they take their last breath. The torture is over. What does that say about us as the “human” race? Thank God for PETA. Albeit a long slow process shutting one company down at a time, it is better than none at all.

  • frances says:


  • susan says:

    please stop selling exotic animals- it is meanless suffering and pain! Thank you so much, I believe in your responsibility and good heart! Susan

  • Susana Espinoza says:

    Selling these animals as pets just to make a few bucks is wrong! No animal should live their lives caged up, in fear, and worse of all out of their habitat!

  • ARFF says:

    Florida’s “Exotic Pet Amnesty Days” are important, but need improvement. The facilities that accept relinquished exotic animals can do whatever they want to with the animals– breed them, sell them, exhibit them. At the very least, the surrendered animals should be spayed/neutered before being given to a new “owner,” to prevent the problem of unwanted exotic animals from continuing.

  • Nicole says:

    I think that any company dealing with live animals that is found to treat animals in this way should be shut down, fined and then thrown (literally) in jail. No sympathy to those who hurt innocent animals or to those who support it when they know what is going on.