On Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge, an old pool supply store was turned into a sloth encounter over the summer. Sloths are not typically found in places such as Hauppauge, and rather South and Central America. Animal activists are concerned for the health and safety of these sloths, and are currently trying to free them.
The owner of the exhibit, Larry Wallach, doesn’t see an issue with the environment the animals are in. In an interview with Eyewitness News, Wallach says, “They hold the babies they get to feed, and they have a great time.”
However, not all customers have had a great time. There have been reports of five people, one being a child, who were bitten by the sloths. However, Wallach was very dismissive about the topic. “They’re animals, people could get bit. They don’t have rabies,” he claims.
Not only are there issues with the animals themselves, but also the building. For a while after the building was taken over, a permit was used under a pool supply category rather than an exotic animal category. Also, the building does not pass safety tests due to the lack of fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors.
This wouldn’t be the first time that Wallach has been in legal trouble over exotic animals. Last year, a legal report was filed after he hid a sloth and a wallaby in his home. The animals were kept in his garage, which is an unnatural habitat for animals of the wild. Wallabies are also illegal to keep in Nassau County because of their potentially dangerous attitudes.