Unusual Faces at the SPCA

July 7, 2009 12:34:17 AM PDT
There are some new faces at the SPCA these days, and it's becoming quite a challenge for workers. Wild animals, including an alligator, are now turning up at the shelter's doorstep or being left for dead at foreclosed homes.Beth Caffrey said, "Horses, llamas, emus, ostriches, everything you would find on a farm."

Even an alligator.

Someone found a two or three year old gator in a field behind a house in Fresno.

Animal Control Officer Mike Arens said, "For the simple fact that they need to have access to water led us to believe somebody had it their possession."

Alligators are illegal to have as pets in California, and when full grown, they're expensive to feed.

"You have to have specialized confinement areas, these things can grow anywhere from 12 to 15 feet," said Arens.

Those are the some of the challenges the SPCA is facing as more and more exotic animals are being surrendered, or just left for dead around the Valley.

"We're not out here to get people in trouble. If they have something like this and its illegal and they want to relinquish it and get it out of their hands they can bring it to us."

The SPCA says no questions asked.

"We're starting to see a lot more snakes that are getting dumped because feeding costs go up," said Caffrey.

Snakes and iguanas are much easier to find a home for. But other, larger animals need to be placed in a zoo or a wildlife refuge. And that can take time.

In rare cases, others like Hector the donkey, are kept at the SPCA as a mascot for educational purposes.

So as the faces change, so too do the needs of shelters. Everything from wading pools, to hay, even licorice for Hector.

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