How did an animal native to Australia end up in a filthy, freezing, Long Island garage?
That’s the disturbing question that surfaced after authorities responding to an anonymous tip found a wallaby locked in an East Rockaway, N.Y., garage yesterday.
“There is not adequate heat in there, there’s no food or water and there are feces all over,” Gary Rogers of the Nassau County SPCA told the New York City media. “We are in contact with the district attorney’s office about possible charges.”
For one thing, town and county laws make it illegal to keep wallabies in East Rockaway. And then there’s the matter of potential animal cruelty or neglect.
The adult male wallaby found in self-described “exotic animal expert” Larry Wallach’s garage appeared to be starving and weighed roughly 20 pounds or half of what it should if it were healthy, according to published reports.
“Wallabies are typically small to medium-sized mammals, but the largest can reach 6 feet (1.8 meters) from head to tail,” according to a description posted on nationalgeographic.com. “They have powerful hind legs they use to bound along at high speeds and jump great distances. When wallabies are threatened by predators, or when males battle each other, they may also use these legs to deliver powerful kicks.”
They can live for up to nine years in the wild.
The wallaby rescued from the East Rockaway garage is being treated at a local animal hospital and “the SPCA is currently looking at options for a new home for him,” according to media accounts.