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OT but this concerns all herp lovers....

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Posted by rowad on May 09, 2003 at 08:29:54:

This was taken from the WD involves tegus iguanas and many other's horrible :( It involves the Long Island Reptile Museum...please read and if you can help please do...WARNING THIS IS VERY UPSETTING.

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


To date we have gotten out 29 turtles (a baby map and baby snapper
along with 5 iguanas thanks to the Connecticut Iguana Sanctuary (AJ
Fighting back the tears she begged for several more but the workers
allow it. There isn't a plump lizard or snake in the place. It is hell.
animals are sentenced to slow death and those who make it out only do so
they die or they get so sick that the owner gives them up to rescues in
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
go on for months killing the animals. He doesn't pay for food. The
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
I am throwing my hands up. I don't know what to do. The SPCA is failing
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.
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
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
is ever changed. They just scoop it up and consider that clean. There was
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
the Aldabra that is left. His name is Sam and before he meets the same
as his brother we need to do something. Aldabras should not live their
in 20x20 pens. They should feel the sun and taste fresh grass. Help us
him! Only the Reptile community can do this.

This is from AJ Gutman, Owner and president of the Conn. Iguana Sanctuary
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
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
open arms by staff members and volunteers who begged us to help them:
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
me and I managed to pull a huge abscess out of the inside of her lower jaw
well. There are two young males who are in reasonable shape (just
aggressive). They were the ones in the unheated cage in the shop who were
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
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
be amputated. They all have mites - the bath water was running red with

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,
imaginable. But my heart went out most to the ones I know best in the
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
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
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
quite huge (yet clearly wasted). He must have been 15-20 years old to be
size. There were also endless numbers of assorted and mislabeled
(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
if the staff or volunteers brought in food for them. On a good day they'd
some light salad greens and chopped fruit - insufficient protein,
insufficient fiber. And all of the enclosures were so dreary, I can't
any of the bulbs were of reasonable wattage or had any UV output.

The enclosures appeared to have been well and thoughtfully designed when
place opened, and then not to have been maintained since then. Broken
dysfunctional watering systems and rotting food were fairly ubiquitous.
Alligators were lying in dry pools, as were water monitors and all manner
others. I've been told that conditions are much improved over what they
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

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
the refugees soon. Any help I could get placing the two healthy boys would
much appreciated and would allow me to concentrate on the three sick


Lori Green
Director, Turtle Homes
Adoptions, NYTTS

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