EAST ROCKAWAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A startling find was made Tuesday, in a garage on Long Island.
An exotic animal — from half a world away — was found locked away in harsh living conditions.
Making things even stranger — the homeowner is known for helping animals.
The young, thin, and anxious male wallaby was found starving inside of a cold garage in East Rockaway, after the Nassau County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals got a tip.
“There was not adequate heat in there, there was no food or water and there were feces all over,” Gary Rogers said.
The home belongs to Larry Wallach, an animal rescuer known as ‘The Tiger Man.’
CBS2 interviewed Wallach in 2009 about his mission to find new homes for abandoned exotic creatures like tigers, bears, and an albino kangaroo.
“Find good preserves for them to live and have a good life,” he said.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, Nassau County authorities said this wallaby was leading a tortured life, until Tuesday’s rescue.
“He was pretty tame, he’s incredibly hungry so he’s gnawing on anything that gets in his path,” Dr. David Kolins said.
Dr. Kolins — from the Mineola Animal Hospital — was on hand to assess the animal’s condition.
“Extremely underweight, thin, no muscle mass left on him, locked in kind of like a dog cage in a garage, left to fend for himself,” Dr. Kolins said.
CBS2 tried to speak to Wallach, but no one answered the door at the home.
Neighbors said they believe he was recently hospitalized, and hadn’t seen him in several weeks. The wallaby is now recovering at the Mineola Animal Hospital.
The Nassau County SPCA said this is an ongoing investigation, and they haven’t had a chance to speak to Wallach. They said they’ve gotten conflicting reports about where he currently is.
The SPCA also found a ball python in the house and several cats.