North Fort Myers wildlife facility under FWC investigation; animals seized

Published: August 16, 2022 1:55 PM EDT
Updated: August 16, 2022 10:09 PM EDT

A captive wildlife facility in North Fort Myers is under investigation by the FWC after more than 200 exotic animals were seized.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said they searched Carl Laquidara’s property, Bad Attitude Everglades Exotics, at 18450 Nalle Road on Aug. 1.

The FWC said it intends to revoke Laquidara’s wildlife permits, which include a permit for venomous reptiles, reptiles of concern, an alligator farm permit, permits for exhibition and/or public sale of Class I, II and III wildlife and a conditional species permit.

Authorities seized venomous reptiles, crocodiles, alligators, porcupine, kinkajous, ring-tailed lemurs, various species of birds, numerous species of tortoise and others.

The seized animals were rehomed at properly licensed captive wildlife facilities pending adjudication of the case, FWC said.

According to the agency, inspectors found more than 160 violations at this property during an inspection in February.

His violations included issues with the documentation of the animals, in addition to caging security violations, humane husbandry violations, and cage and sanitation violations. Other charges are pending, FWC said.

“The FWC promotes responsible ownership of captive wildlife, and it is the goal of the FWC to develop the best regulations possible that provide for public safety, animal welfare and the legitimate use of wildlife for educational, exhibition, or personal purposes,” FWC said. “Individuals who possess wildlife in Florida must be licensed and meet all safe housing and humane treatment standards. FWC investigators routinely conduct inspections of captive wildlife facilities to ensure humane treatment and sanitary conditions are in place for the animals. FWC investigators also inspect to ensure that cage and security requirements are followed to ensure public safety. Florida Statutes and captive wildlife regulations provide the tools FWC investigators need to address issues when violations occur.”

Jesse Davis is a manager of Perky Pets in Fort Myers, and he sees plenty of people each week who aren’t fit to own exotic animals.

“We see it with other people all day long,” said Davis. “These bird breeders, these reptile breeders, all that stuff is it’s a different dynamic when they come in.”

“Some most of these people should not be owning these animals,” Davis said.

Davis did mention that Laquidara, who is a regular at Perky Pets, was not one of them.

“He seemed to love them all he only wanted to feed like the best food,” Davis said. “We had a bunch of cheaper stuff. He said no. So we just ordered him the special stuff he wanted.”

Davis never did see any red flags from Laquidara actually, it was quite the opposite.

“I was shocked. Because I mean, the dude so nice,” Davis said. “The dude’s intelligent enough to handle it. He does all the paperwork.”

Davis doesn’t even think the over 160 violations that Laquidara is accused of, sounds like the person he knows.

“I even asked him about his permits. I was like, ‘Hey, do you get how do you get permits for all this?’ He’s like, ‘That’s a lot of work. But you just do to it have the animals,'” Davis said.

Laquidara’s attorney gave WINK News a statement about what is happening. “Without the benefit of sitting down with Carl and going through specifics – they’ve taken a snapshot which does not show what’s really happening.”