News Releases

Exotic Pet Amnesty Day set for May 16 in Kissimmee

News Release

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Media contact: Greg Workman, 352-732-1225

An Exotic Pet Amnesty Day will be held May 16 in Osceola County. The public is invited to surrender exotic animals, which they have been keeping as pets and can no longer care for – no penalties and no questions asked.

The free event is open to the public and will be in Kissimmee at 1921 Kissimmee Valley Lane at the Osceola Heritage Park’s Extension Services Building. Experts from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other organizations will be on hand with information about caring for exotic pets, responsible pet ownership and potential ecological impacts of invasive species in Florida. Native and exotic animals will be on display and a native plant sale will also take place at the event.

Surrendered animals will be accepted between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. They will be checked by a veterinarian, and healthy animals will be made available for adoption that same day to pre-registered, experienced individuals who are capable of caring for them. Animals that will be accepted for surrender include reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates. Domestic animals, such as cats or dogs, will not be accepted.

Animals will be available for adoption after 2 p.m. Exotic pet adopters must be experienced and must have already applied and been approved by the FWC prior to the event. Potential adopters need to bring their acceptance letters with them. People can find adopter applications at Becoming an adopter is free, but people are required to register a minimum of four days prior to the event to adopt an animal.

The Exotic Pet Amnesty program is an effort to reduce and prevent the release of nonnative animals in Florida. Exotic Pet Amnesty events are held around the state throughout the year. In conjunction with this event, the FWC is celebrating its first annual Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day by hosting and promoting a weekend of events across the state.

“Lionfish are a nonnative, invasive species that have a potential negative impact on native species and habitat,” said FWC Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program Coordinator Kelly Irick. “It is possible that lionfish were introduced to Florida waters as escaped or released pets. By encouraging responsible pet ownership through the Exotic Pet Amnesty program, we hope to prevent further release of nonnative animals into the wild.” In Florida, it is illegal to release lionfish and other nonnative animals into the wild.

This Exotic Pet Amnesty Day is sponsored by the FWC, UF-IFAS, Osceola County Extension Services, the Heartland and Osceola Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas, and Swamp Girl Adventures. The event is made possible through a grant funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wells Fargo and the National Park Service.

For additional information about Exotic Pet Amnesty Day, visit or call the FWC’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-Ive-Got1 (888-483-4681). Exotic pet owners who are no longer able to care for an exotic pet and cannot attend this event can call the hotline number for assistance. For additional information on Lionfish Removal and Awareness Day events taking place that weekend, visit

FWC Facts:
The horse conch (Pleuroploca gigantea) is Florida's official state shell. It is a predator that grabs other snails and inserts its toothed tongue to devour soft flesh.

Learn More at AskFWC