Superior event gives exotic animals a second chance

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The goal of Menasha-based nonprofit J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue is to find new homes for the animals through a statewide network of rescue organizations.

There is no cost to return an animal, and they can come from any zip code. At a surrender event, the group took in some Illinois pets.

“We don’t want there to be obstacles in doing the right thing,” said John Moyles, who is leading the rescue with his wife, Rosa.

There will be no on-site adoption, but all animals will be available for adoption through various rescue agencies, Moyles said. Further, he said, “We will tell you where the animal has gone.” “

The association accepts everything from tropical fish and hedgehogs to native wildlife like foxes and painted turtles. They will also welcome aquatic plants. The only animals the group won’t work with are dogs, cats, and farm livestock like horses, cows, and pigs.

Prairie dogs and six specific species of African rodents are banned as pets in Wisconsin, according to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Local ordinances may further restrict which animals can be owned as pets. Additionally, no one can own live native wildlife without a license or permit from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Moyles said his interest in pet rescue lies at the intersection of his natural resources degree and more than two decades of work in the pet industry. He led a surrender network with the Green Bay Aquarium Society and founded J&R Aquatic Animal Rescue in 2020 to host surrender events statewide.

“In many areas, there are no resources for exotic animals,” Moyles said. “Even where we live, the fish cannot be pounded. “

It’s important to make animals exotic instead of throwing them away or rinsing them, he said. An abandoned pet would most likely die. Otherwise, it could find its way into the local habitat and become an invasive species.

At a recent event at Stevens Point, someone handed Moyles a 3ft alligator in a Rubbermaid tote. He was able to keep him at home for 12 hours before handing him over to a reptile rescue.

“We will never turn away a person or animal in need,” Moyles said.

The returned chickens actually raised more concern for the rescue than the alligator, as Menasha has an order against owning chickens.

“I can keep an alligator in a tub, but not chickens,” Moyles said, so he found a farmer friend to take them away.

The rescue shelter, housed in the family’s basement, currently houses around 500 exotic animals. The list includes catfish, hissing cockroaches, a boa constrictor, a reticulated python and a dove, according to a September 27 post on the nonprofit. Facebook page.

The association takes anything that comes through the door, but has a strict policy of not adopting any of the rescues. Moyles said they could make an exception for one. The first animal they ever had was a big fish, a frontosa cichlid named Bruce. The couple found a home for the fish, but this family ended up sending it away. The animal, renamed “Boomer” because it came back like a boomerang, still lives with the couple and their 3-year-old daughter.

The humanitarian company organizes the rescue, but does not carry it out. The event will take place in the conference hall, which has a separate entrance.

People planning to attend the surrender event are encouraged to complete an online form in advance on the nonprofit organization’s website to give Moyles a better idea of ​​what he will get. . For those who cannot attend, there are other options. Pets can be brought directly to the rescue organization.

“We have had people who mail their animals,” Moyles said.

Visit the website for more information or to complete a redemption form.


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