The Real Deal New York

A “beastly” business: Queens has most illegal pet violations

January 21, 2014 09:10AM

Clockwise from top: A jaguarundi, polar bears, a black mamba and a mountain lion

Clockwise from top: A jaguarundi, polar bears, a black mamba and a mountain lion

New Yorkers may take pride in the city’s “concrete jungle” nickname, but the city’s Health Department doesn’t take too kindly to residents harboring illegal critters. The department handed out 290 violations over the past five years to residents who kept illegal pets such as zebras, pythons and monkeys.

The city defines a wild animal as any animal “naturally inclined to do harm and capable of inflicting harm upon human beings,” and the list of banned animals includes creatures from around the world, such as the zorille, an African relative of the weasel that resembles a skunk, as The Real Deal reported.

Queens was the worst offender, with 86 summonses between January 2008 and September 2013 for illegal pets, according to Health Department data seen by DNAinfo. Next was Brooklyn, with 69 summonses, followed by the Bronx with 59, Manhattan with 49 and Staten Island with 27.

Steve Rosalbo, the owner of Staten Island’s Rosalbo Pets, told the website that many of the city’s banned animals are legal in counties right outside the city. He added that his shop loses about $50,000 each year because customers on the prowl for exotic pets simply go outside the city limits. [DNAinfo]  – Hiten Samtani

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