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Animal welfare authorities seized more than 100 animals from a Long Island home this week — including a South American ostrich, a giant African snail, two prairie dogs and an endangered tiger salamander — after a tip they received about exotic animals led them to their owner’s doorstep.
“He was running a pop-up circus,” said Detective Matt Roper, director of law enforcement for the Nassau County SPCA. “Bringing these animals out in public and letting children play with these animals.”
Detective Roper said the animals’ owner was given court summonses for several state and local violations, including endangering the public and housing and possessing endangered species. Federal authorities are also investigating, he said.
Detective Roper emphasized that there were no signs that the animals had been abused or neglected.
“They were all cared for,” Detective Roper said. “They were just in violation of being held or kept as either pets or for exhibition purposes.”
Detective Roper, who declined to name the animals’ owner because the investigation is continuing, said that on Tuesday the authorities took 104 animals from the basement and backyard of the house, which is in North Bellmore.
Humane Long Island, an animal advocacy organization that took custody of dozens of the animals that were seized, identified their owner as Matthew Spohrer, 32. He was issued 30 violations relating to illegal possession of animals, the group said in a news release.