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Oshkosh Humane Society takes in illegal exotics

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A dwarf caiman turned over to the Oshkosh Area Humane Society on March 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy OAHS).

OSHKOSH (WLUK) -- Two exotic pets, one alligator-like reptile called a dwarf caiman, and a Burmese Python were seized from an Oshkosh home.

A member of the alligator family the Oshkosh Area Humane Society would later name Tulip. The South American species was in the facility's care, along with a 10-foot python. Those animals are illegal to own within the City of Oshkosh, so police impounded the exotic pets.

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Cari Tetzlaff, OAHS Admissions Manager said, "At the end of that seven days, they became property of the shelter and, during that seven days we got a crash course on how to take care of some very potentially dangerous, exotic reptiles, and it was a steep learning curve for us."


There are no state laws banning someone from owning an exotic animal, but local governments have the power to create their own rules.

Tetzlaff urges people to do their research before getting one.

"It's very, very important for somebody to do their homework, do their research and really think critically about whether or not they have the ability to care for this animal for its entire life," she said. "If they don't do that, they can become a burden on shelters, and the animals pay the price."

Tetzlaff said the humane society wasn't even equipped to handle these types of animals.

"We were very, very lucky to have a whole team of people come and help us make temporary housing for them, while we waited to transfer them out," she said, "We were very lucky that the Wisconsin Herpetological Society is willing to transfer them in."

Tulip the caiman will be going to live at a wildlife and nature center. As for the python, an adopter has already been lined up.

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