Please Don’t Release Unwanted Pets Into The Wild

Please Don’t Release Unwanted Pets Into The Wild

PRATT – If you have a fish, turtle, bird or other small pet that you can no longer care for, you may think releasing it at a local lake or park is the most humane thing to do. However, if the release doesn’t end up as a death sentence for your pet, it can lead to new populations of harmful aquatic nuisance species – species not native to Kansas that can threaten native species and habitat.

Through the “Don’t Let it Loose” program, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is partnering with locally-owned pet stores to provide a safe alternative for families needing to rehome small pets, especially fish. By visiting, pet owners can view a list of nearly 30 locations across the state willing to help pet owners find the animal a new place to thrive.

In past years, exotic fish species such as pacu, arowana, and the ornate bichir – all non-native species – have turned up in Kansas waters, likely because of aquarium releases. Once a non-native species is introduced into an area, a host of unwanted – and in rare cases, irreversible – effects can occur.

Help protect all animals; don’t release pets into the wild.