Exotic Pets in Wisconsin


by John Cuoco

MILWAUKEE- Exotic pets may be cool in theory, but the truth is some are dangerous and often times mistreated by owners who don't know how to care for them.

On Tuesday, rattlesnakes, alligators, a crocodile, a Gila monster, and a snapping turtle were found in the basement of a Kenosha home in tubs, crates, and a homemade pond.

Often times animals like this are easily purchased on the internet, at trade shows, or swap meets.

"I've been to homes and seen people's private collections of cobras, Gila monsters, gators, and tortoises of all sorts," Mike Hoffer, of Hoffer's Tropic Life Pets, said.

In Wisconsin there is no law prohibiting any exotic or dangerous pets, that's left up to local municipalities.

"[Wisconsin] regulates farm animals more than exotics," John McDowell, MADACC, explained.

If a person does have exotic pets in a city, town, or village that prohibits them then they can face a municipal citation, or something worse if the pet injures someone, if federally protected, or is mistreated.

According to Maggie Tarasewicz with the Racine Zoo, these kinds of animals often demand a certain level of commitment that their owners are unable to provide.



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