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VERY disturbing but not completely OT


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Posted by rowad on May 09, 2003 at 07:10:04:

This was taken from the yahoo waterdragon list. This story involves tegus, iguanas, monitors, tutrtles and other reptiles. Please read and maybe someone can help who is close by....

Subject: [WATERDRAGON] Warning - disturbing
To: WATERDRAGON@l...

To everyone on this list,

Please be advised that the following is a disturbing account of animal
cruelty. I do not wish to upset anyone on the list, but I was made aware
of this by the C-turtle mailing list. Since the Long Island Reptile
Museum offers boarding and adoption for reptiles I had to share this
with you. I have added the email I got, and also the links for the
museum's homepage and the crical report of the conditions found
there made by the Tortoise Trust. Many of the animals are being
rescued but there are some kind of legal problems.

Sorry for the long post

http://www.reptilemuseum.com/
http://www.tortoisetrust.org/activities/Zoo%20Report.pdf

email

To date we have gotten out 29 turtles (a baby map and baby snapper
today)
along with 5 iguanas thanks to the Connecticut Iguana Sanctuary (AJ
Gutman).
Fighting back the tears she begged for several more but the workers
couldn't
allow it. There isn't a plump lizard or snake in the place. It is hell.
The
animals are sentenced to slow death and those who make it out only do so
when
they die or they get so sick that the owner gives them up to rescues in
lew
of paying vet bills. The SPCA doesn't know what to do anymore. The court
system is failing us. They keep postponing the hearings so this monster
will
go on for months killing the animals. He doesn't pay for food. The
volunteers
bring in what scraps they can find in dumpsters or they spend their own
money. If there is no food and no volunteer the animals don't eat. I have
given my reports. I have taken nearly 30 turtles out of there and today 5
iguanas.
I am throwing my hands up. I don't know what to do. The SPCA is failing
and
by taking the animals I am only making room for more. He fools the public
into thinking he is an adoption service and they pay him to take their
animals. He either sells them or the animals are doomed to starve or their
bodies rot from dirty conditions. There are hundreds of reptiles there.
They
all need help. Every expert says the same thing. They leave there feeling
sick. The workers go home crying because they can't help them. The guy
just
hires fancy lawyers to block the SPCA from entering the building. He has a
200 pound Aldabra in a 20x20 pen with three hundred pound sulcatas. They
fight over the small heat lamps and the sulcata have diarrhea. No
substrate
is ever changed. They just scoop it up and consider that clean. There was
a
second Aldabra but it died three weeks ago. They let the body sit around
until the autopsy could no longer prove cause of death. We want to
liberate
the Aldabra that is left. His name is Sam and before he meets the same
fate
as his brother we need to do something. Aldabras should not live their
lives
in 20x20 pens. They should feel the sun and taste fresh grass. Help us
help
him! Only the Reptile community can do this.

This is from AJ Gutman, Owner and president of the Conn. Iguana Sanctuary
and
the Secretary for the National Iguana Society.

The Long Island Reptile Museum is truly the stuff of nightmare. I'm still
struggling to slow my breathing and stop my heart from pounding. The
building
houses hundreds of reptiles and amphibians and not a single one of them
appeared to be receiving adequate care.

As Lori mentioned, we managed to take 5 Green Iguanas out. We were met
with
open arms by staff members and volunteers who begged us to help them:
"please
take the ones on the bottom of the cage that look like bundles of
sticks." Michael and I just finished surgery on the lower hind leg of one
female to remove a massive network of abscesses. The poor girl was gaping
at
me and I managed to pull a huge abscess out of the inside of her lower jaw
as
well. There are two young males who are in reasonable shape (just
predictably
aggressive). They were the ones in the unheated cage in the shop who were
for
sale. The other three are females, the biggest girl was the one with the
abscesses and the smallest has that horrible kind of necrotic skin
condition
all over her body. The other girl is the one who was left in the unheated,
unlit box in the back to die. She is horribly emaciated and dehydrated,
covered with burns and many of her toes are rotten and will probably need
to
be amputated. They all have mites - the bath water was running red with
them.

These are the lucky ones. As sick as they are, I can probably fix all of
them. The ones that will haunt me are the ones I couldn't bring home -
endless monitors, tegus, dragons, huge glorious tortoises, gators,
everything
imaginable. But my heart went out most to the ones I know best in the
cages
where I could easily recognize a thousand inadequacies. There were five
Rhino Iguanas, survivors from a group of fourteen. The two males were
constantly locking jaws, all of them were skinny; there were no hiding
spots
and the smallest female who was being chased by everybody had an amazing
roller coaster scoliosis. She's the one who most affected me because she
was
looking at me and it seemed that she new I recognized her distress
and desperately wanted my help.

There were three Cubans - looked like two males and a female. One fellow
was
quite huge (yet clearly wasted). He must have been 15-20 years old to be
that
size. There were also endless numbers of assorted and mislabeled
ctenosaurs
(that no one recognized their species was the least of their worries). All
the Iguanas, and apparently many of the other animals as well, were only
fed
if the staff or volunteers brought in food for them. On a good day they'd
get
some light salad greens and chopped fruit - insufficient protein,
insufficient fiber. And all of the enclosures were so dreary, I can't
imagine
any of the bulbs were of reasonable wattage or had any UV output.

The enclosures appeared to have been well and thoughtfully designed when
the
place opened, and then not to have been maintained since then. Broken
glass,
dysfunctional watering systems and rotting food were fairly ubiquitous.
Alligators were lying in dry pools, as were water monitors and all manner
of
others. I've been told that conditions are much improved over what they
were
weeks ago when conditions were reported to the SPCA. The politics and
legalities are complex and I can't pretend to have any grasp of how to
proceed.

But we need to proceed. I'll be composing an itemized report on the Green
Iguanas, Cyclura and Ctenosaurs for Lori to submit. I should have photos
of
the refugees soon. Any help I could get placing the two healthy boys would
be
much appreciated and would allow me to concentrate on the three sick
girls.

AJ


Lori Green
Director, Turtle Homes
Adoptions, NYTTS





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