Pennsylvania Sea Grant, Erie Humane Society and Herps Alive Foundation are hosting the Erie Pet Amnesty Day, to encourage the connection between responsible pet ownership and environmental stewardship.
Aquatic pets may be surrendered on Saturday, May 1, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Erie Humane Society located at 2407 Zimmerly Road.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing, online registration is requested at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ReleaseZero.
The Erie Pet Amnesty Day will provide a safe, convenient, and humane alternative for pet owners to surrender unwanted aquatic pets including fish, turtles, amphibians and invertebrates, so that release into the environment is never considered.
The alternative, releasing a species into the environment results in the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) which are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that cause harm to the environment, the economy, and human or animal health.
The aquarium trade and home aquariums are the second most popular hobby in the United States and are unfortunately one of the primary ways AIS are spread into local waterways and lakes. Over 150 of these ‘pet’ species have already found their way to non-native habitats worldwide. Aquarists and water gardeners may release organisms for a variety of reasons: large size, aggressive behavior, becoming ill, or not being prepared for the full commitment involved in caring for a particular species.
One example is the red-eared slider turtle, which is the most popular turtle for sale in the United States. When purchased, these tiny little turtles capture the hearts of many children and adults who are unaware that their new pet can grow to be over 10 inches in diameter and live in captivity for more than 25 years. The red-eared slider’s unfortunate fate is often to be released into local lakes and waterways, where they do not belong, and where they take over the food sources and habitats of native turtles such as the painted turtle.
For more information about aquatic invasive species, visit Pennsylvania Sea Grant online at http://seagrant.psu.edu.