State: Sugar gliders company should have had pet shop license

New London — The company that sold sugar gliders, nocturnal animals from the Southern Hemisphere, at Sailfest should have had a pet shop license from the state Department of Agriculture, Ray Connors, supervisor of the state animal control division, said Wednesday.

Connors said the pet shop license, which includes an inspection of the facilities where animals are sold, was not obtained by PocketPets, the company that sold the small marsupials at the festival July 11 and 12.

Adam Wayne, northern regional director for PocketPets, said Wednesday that the company did obtain all required licenses. He declined to email a copy of the pet shop license to The Day, however, saying that the issue of his company’s presence at Sailfest already has generated too much publicity.

On Tuesday, Barbara Neff, the lead organizer for Sailfest, said the vendor application for the festival would be amended to prohibit live animals, and that PocketPets would not be allowed to return next year.

Her action came after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Humane Society and several individuals objected to the sale of sugar gliders at Sailfest, arguing that they are not good pets and that they are raised in inhumane breeding operations.

Sugar gliders are native to Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia, where they live in large colonies.

In addition to the pet shop license, Connors said PocketPets also should have had documents for each animal brought into Connecticut showing they passed health inspections in their state of origin. PocketPets’ breeding operations are based in Florida.

Connors said the documents should have been filed with the agriculture department prior to PocketPets coming to Connecticut, but that he was unable to check on the agency’s registry Wednesday afternoon.

“Any animal that comes into Connecticut has to be inspected where they were bred, to make sure they’re not a rabies risk,” Connors said.

Wayne said the company had the health inspection documents for the animals it brought to Sailfest.

Connors said the state Department of Agriculture could take action against the PocketPets representatives who sold the animals without a pet shop license at Sailfest. The representatives could be fined, he said.

The state would pursue such action if someone who purchased a sugar glider at Sailfest contacts the department and makes a statement, he said. Anyone who has purchased a sugar glider can contact the agriculture department at (860) 713-2506.

Connors urged anyone who purchased a sugar glider at Sailfest to take their animal to a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals.

“They should have them examined for the animal’s own sake and for their own safety,” Connors said.

j.benson@theday.com

Twitter: @BensonJudy

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