OLYMPIA, Wash. - The owners of sloths and other exotic animals that were confiscated from a home in Olympia in March have been ordered to forfeit them to Thurston County Animal Services.
Police say an anonymous tip led them to the house, which had seven South American tree sloths, an Asian monitor lizard and giant anteater, three armadillos and other reptiles and insects. A tree sloth can sell for $5,000 to $7,000.
None of the species can be owned or sold in Washington state without federal and state permits.
The business owners are licensed as a sloth rescue in Oregon, but could not produce any paperwork showing the animals could be owned in Washington.
"Research from the group's website based out of Oregon shows that they do meet-and-greets with them, and sometimes sleepovers. We were kind of concerned that they'd been breeding them as well as one of them did have a baby and one was pregnant," Courtney Mclees of Thurston County Animal Services said of the owners of the sloths.
The owners of the exotic animals sued for the return of the animals, but on Friday, July 20, a Thurston County judge threw out the suit.
In a 12-page ruling the judge ordered all 35 animals to be forfeited to Animal Services based on unlawful possession.
All are now in an exotics sanctuary in another part of the state.
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