Eight fire salamanders and exotic toad seized amid call for tighter rules on pets
Animal welfare experts have called for tougher regulations around exotic pets after several salamanders and an exotic toad were intercepted by Customs officers.
A shipment from Spain that contained eight fire salamanders and a natterjack toad was seized by staff in Dublin.
Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ISPCA)chief inspector Conor Dowling stressed that the care of exotic animals is difficult.
"We are raising serious concerns about the poor standard of care provided to exotic animals that need specific environmental and nutritional requirements," he said.
"We had the case of a pet shop for example. Two tortoises had been kept in the same habitat. But they were actually different species needing different temperatures and levels of humidity," he described.
With new animals being smuggled in from other countries and other exotic pets being abandoned in Ireland, the ISPCA is recording more and more animal discoveries in Ireland.
Over the past year, several stray snakes had been spotted, including the most recent discovery of an emaciated Burmese python in the Wicklow Mountains.
"These animals are frequently allowed to suffer, sometimes unwittingly, by owners who simply do not have the knowledge to care for them properly," said Mr Dowling.
"The ISPCA believes that a mandatory code of practice or specific legislation needs to be urgently introduced," he added.
"We would also like to see a positive list as an orientation for people, meaning a list of animals that can be kept. It can still be a bit tricky but keeping them adequately can be done.
"Additionally, there are some animals where we believe that it can't be done, like primates or crocodiles. Particularly the social requirements for primates are impossible to achieve in a domestic environment as a pet."