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May 6, 2023 11:00 am - 2:00 pm 2407 Zimmerly Road Erie, PA 16506
Red-eared slider turtle basks in the sun on a log

Erie Pet Amnesty Day avoids release of unwanted aquarium pets through re-homing 

May 6, 2023

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM 

Erie Humane Society, 2407 Zimmerly Road, Erie, PA 16506

(ERIE, PA) – The Erie Aquarium Pet Amnesty Day will provide a safe, convenient, and humane alternative for pet owners to surrender unwanted aquarium pets including fish, turtles, amphibians, lizards and other aquarium animals, so that release into the environment is never considered. Pennsylvania Sea Grant, the 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. Aquarium pets may be surrendered on Saturday, May 6, 2023 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, at the Erie Humane Society located at 2407 Zimmerly Road. Register today to surrender an aquarium pet. 

The goal of the effort is to offer a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to releasing aquarium pets, which can result in the introduction and spread of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. Invasive species are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that cause harm to the environment, the economy, and human or animal health. An aquarium pet can become an invasive species when an owner releases it into the wild, where it is not natively found, and where it may prey on and out compete native species. Releasing a pet into the wild may seem like the most humane action for owners who are no longer able to care for their pet due to size, behavior, health, or some other reason, but there are alternatives. The event organizers hope to reach pet owners by providing an alternative that is safe for the pet and for the environment. 

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.  

One example is the red-eared slider turtle, which is the most popular turtle for sale in the United States. When purchased, these tiny 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 for more than 25 years in captivity. 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. 

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