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NY Man Accused Of Keeping Exotic Animals In Unsafe Conditions

A sloth.
A sloth. Photo Credit: Wikipedia/Christian Mehlführer

A man has been accused of keeping a sloth and a wallaby in unsafe and unsatisfactory conditions in his New York home.

The United States Department of Agriculture cited Long Island resident Larry Wallach after searching his East Rockaway home and allegedly found a sloth living in an enclosure in his garage during the June 2021 inspection.

"Hanging from the ceiling in the interior of the sloth enclosure, is a light fixture and on the floor of the interior is a portable electric humidifier with the cord exposed," the USDA complaint said. "The sloth has access to the exposed light and the humidifier, which could injure the animal by burning, broken glass, or electrical shock. 

"The sloth’s enclosure is covered by a fabric tarp, which is a potential fire hazard as the humidifier and the light fixture have exposed electrical wires."

During the inspection, a wallaby was found housed in an outdoor enclosure with a 39-inch back fence, the USDA said. 

There is not a perimeter fence of sufficient height that functions as a secondary containment system to prevent the wallaby from escaping," the complaint said.

In August 2020, Wallach "took a tiger cub, that according to records provided by the licensee was approximately 6 weeks old, to a park where the public had direct contact to handle and pet the cub," the USDA complaint said. "The licensee did not restrict access to the unleashed cub and did not maintain a barrier, allowing the cub to walk among the crowd."

Wallach now risks the possibility of having his animal-handling licenses revoked by the USDA.

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