LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It’s not your average fishbowl.
Department of Environmental Conservation Officers carried out a search warrant at a LaGrangeville, NY home on Aug. 23.
They were checking out a report that the home may be harboring illegal wildlife.
They found seven live sandbar sharks along with two dead leopard sharks and a dead hammerhead.
The sharks were found in a 15-foot above-ground pool in the basement of the home.
“It’s extremely unusual,” Dutchess County SPCA officer Kimberly McNamee told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare.
McNamee said she’s investigated 4,000 cases, and never come across anything like this.
“I’ve seen crocodiles, snakes, some stingrays, and I know there was another case that they had alligators,” she said. “No sharks.”
The state department of environmental conservation confirmed they found the sharks on August 23. The homeowner has not been charged with a crime, and his exact name and address have not been released.
Investigators said the man was likely breeding them to sell to private collectors.
Sand tiger sharks are a federally protected species, and it is illegal to own them anywhere on the east coast unless you have a special permit.
People in Lagrangeville were stunned by the discovery.
“I can’t believe that this happened here, it’s such a small town, and there’s no sharks near here, there’s no ocean near here,” Carmella Antonakos said.
The sharks were caught in nets and removed from the pool, then carefully taken to the Long Island Aquarium where they are currently under quarantine and being nursed back to health.
“These sharks were caught off the coast of Alabama, the Gulf Coast,” Katie Marino explained, “We can’t put them on exhibit anywhere because if they have some pathogen, that will spread to animals on exhibit.”
The sharks were tagged and taken to the Long Island Aquarium.
Experts said the baby sharks are 1 to 3-years-old, and could grow to 9-ft long — much too big to be kept as exotic and illegal pets.