Wanted: New homes for exotic pets

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by JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on January 31, 2010 at 6:51 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 1 at 5:26 PM

Exotic animals seized

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DALLAS — Volunteers spent Sunday preparing hundreds of animals of all shapes and sizes to be shipped to new homes across the country.

"We don't want anything to happen to them," said Nyssa Fleury, one of the volunteers.

A judge cleared the way this weekend to transfer thousands of familiar and unusual creatures that were seized last month from U.S. Global Exotics in the largest animal raid in U.S. history.

The Arlington exporter had been accused of neglect.

"It's urgent for us, from a resource standpoint; and it's urgent for these animals to get into that next level of care," said SPCA of Texas president James Bias.

Workers from the Detroit Zoo intend to take more than 20 large mammals for display, including ring-tailed lemurs, which will be new to the facility.

Five wallabys will be joining the two existing representatives at the Detroit Zoo.

Zoos, museums and animal welfare groups seeking to adopt the exotic inventory must first be screened. Very few will make their way to private homes.

There is one exception: The hedgehogs. Volunteers are trying to adopt out nearly 600.

"We probably normally rescue and adopt a couple of month, so 600 all at once? We were just begging people to fill out an application," said Jennifer Plombon of the Hedgehog Welfare Society.

Tapping into their network, Plombon said the organization found homes for most; some adoptive homes are as far away as Canada.

"Got their cages; know where they're going to go," Plombon said. "So as soon as we hear, we're going to be like, start driving."

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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