VILLAGE OF ALLEGANY, N.Y. (WIVB) - UPDATE: 8/10
On Friday, the DEC released the following statement on the reptiles seized.
On Thursday, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and wildlife conservation experts executed a search warrant as part of an ongoing investigation into the unlawful possession of wildlife at a private residence in the town of Alleghany in Cattaraugus County, seizing more than 300 reptiles, including spotted turtles, snapping turtles, Blandings Turtles, box turtles, wood turtles, bog turtles and painted turtles, all believed to be unlawfully held.DEC would like to thank the Cattaraugus and Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Offices, the Cattaraugus County District Attorney’s Office, the Village of Allegany Police Department, Allegany EMS, Mercy Flight, The Buffalo Zoo and Cornell University for their assistance.On backgroundAlso found at the residence were six Gila monsters and three King Cobra snakes, all of which are illegal to possess in New York. All animals were seized without incident and are being held while their conditions are evaluated. A number of zoos and wildlife conservation groups have volunteered their services should long term care or placement of the reptiles be required. A number of as-yet unidentified turtle eggs were also seized.None of the reptiles seized may be possessed without permits. Bog turtles are listed as endangered in NY; Blanding’s turtles are listed as threatened, spotted turtles and wood turtles are species of special concern. Though the season is open for taking snapping turtles, they may not be possessed live. A final list of charges is pending with the Cattaraugus County District Attorney.
Hundreds of reptiles, included venomous snakes, were taken from a Union Street residence in the Village of Allegany on Thursday.
Law enforcement executed a search warrant at the residence for the reptiles.
The snakes - three venomous cobras - are in the care of the Buffalo Zoo.
Law enforcement arrived on scene around 7 a.m. Thursday and were at the home until at least 5:00 p.m. Mercy Flight and an ambulances were on scene in a snake bit anyone who handled them. No one was injured.
Residents expressed concern that the reptiles would escape the house, but Allegany officials said at not point were they ever released into the wild. The house is not far from St. Bonaventure University.