NORTH FORT MYERS
Wildlife investigators cited a wildlife facility in North Fort Myers and seized animals after finding feces festering in animal enclosures and standing water with apparent mosquito infestations.
In one case, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigator said four dead rats were decomposing on top of a bird enclosure at the Bad Attitude Everglades Exotics, leaving the birds exposed to their rotting carcasses, the report said. of the FWC.
“We have so many rats,” a woman from the pet store told the investigator. “We’ve been infested with rats lately and the problem is they get into the bird food.”
The inspection, which took place in February, led to 160 violations and the seizure of more than 200 exotic animals from the Nalle Road facility.
The FWC said it also intends to revoke Carl Laquidara’s wildlife permits. Laquidara owns Bad Attitude Everglades Exotics.
Authorities have seized poisonous reptiles, crocodiles, alligators, porcupines, kinkajous, ring-tailed lemurs, various species of birds, numerous species of turtles and others.
Other issues include leaving cage doors unlocked, mislabeling of animals, incorrect documentation, and issues with snakebite protocol.
Problems were also found with enclosures for alligators and crocodiles. Three Nile crocodiles and seven American crocodiles had no resting or dry ground in their enclosures.
However, Rene Diaz, who built all the cages and was there when FWC seized the animals, said it was all a big misunderstanding.
Others who know the place are also wondering how this could have happened.
“There are so many different animals people can have. So FWC has so much to follow, and it’s important, you know? Each animal must clean the water and they must have water in the water dish. It should be clean. But, if FWC comes in and you don’t have a water dish or the water dish is dry, it will be a citation,” said Adam Pottruck, with Adam’s Animal Encounters.
The pet store is not open to the public.
Diaz said it was a breeding center. Diaz also said the FWC has gotten stricter with its code and how it enforces it.
Those who work in such establishments say they have never seen so many violations in one place.
“I’ve never heard of anything like this. People try to avoid one or two violations, how anyone could get that many is beyond me,” Pottruck said. “It really is. I mean, I’m not…it’s just disconcerting.