Idaho Invasive Species Hotline [toll-free]:

Pet owners: Don’t Let It Loose!

Abandoned pets and plant materials which are released into the wild can become a serious invasive species threat. Some people believe the right thing to do when owners can no longer care for their pets is to release them into the wild to fend for themselves.

The truth is, releasing a pet is not only cruel to the animal, which will most likely die, it could also lead to great ecological damage should that introduced species find a niche to successfully colonize. Plant materials can also be inadvertently released when dumping aquarium contents into water systems, as well as from a backyard water garden with interconnecting waterways.

Invasive species cost the United States billions of dollars each year. They harm native fish, wildlife, and invertebrate populations, reducing biodiversity. They also harm local economies by discouraging recreation by anglers and tourists, decrease property values, and interfere with navigation and water control structures. Some of the most notorious invasive species in the United States were originally sold as pets or plants for gardens and aquariums.