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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:49 p.m., Friday, November 3, 2006

Snake, lizard, iguana, scorpions now in state custody

Advertiser Staff

Under a state amnesty program, no questions were asked but surely eyebrows were raised yesterday when a 22-inch albino corn snake, a bearded dragon lizard, a 19-inch iguana and two emperor scorpions were delivered to state Department of Agriculture's Hilo office.

All of them are illegal to own in Hawai'i.

Anyone who voluntarily surrenders illegal animals to Hawai`i agriculture authorities is granted immunity from prosecution. People who are found with illegal animals could be charged with a class C felony and face fines of up to $200,000 and three years in prison.

"Those who smuggle and possess illegal animals in Hawai`i pose a real threat to our state," said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, chairperson of the Hawai'i Board of Agriculture. "We request and appreciate every responsible citizen's help in stopping those who are bringing these illegal animals into our community. Should these animals become established in the wild, the financial and ecological toll will be shouldered by everyone in the state."

Many of the illegal animals have no known predators in Hawai`i.