A businesswoman from O’Hara is on a mission to seek out new properties for deserted and surrendered exotic animals.
Sara Smith owns Sara’s Pets and Plants, positioned at 908 Main St. in Sharpsburg.
Smith tends to greater than 100 animals at her shop, most of them rescued and surrendered animals.
But she’s turning away animals that need assistance as a result of her shelter is full.
“We’re all extremely overwhelmed physically, mentally and financially and Sara’s Pets is no exception,” Smith mentioned. “I do not have the space for them.”
Smith, 27, grew up surrounded by pets, crops, animals and spent numerous hours inside native pet shops.
“As a child you could always find me in the yard, woods or garden interacting with plants and animals,” Smith mentioned.
Her shop homes a myriad of animals that features an alligator, spiders, snakes, reptiles, bunnies, bearded dragons, and a really pleasant rooster named Princess Peach.
Smith sells pet merchandise for cats and canines and stay and frozen meals for exotic pets.
A graduate of Fox Chapel Area High School, Smith earned a bachelor’s diploma in wildlife and fisheries science from Penn State University.
She first opened Sara’s in Squirrel Hill in 2018 and relocated to Sharpsburg in 2020.
One of the few exotic pet rescues in the Pittsburgh area, Smith mentioned she needs the general public would take into account all the duties and duties that include pet possession.
“There are so many pet owners who purchase a pet and very quickly realize that they’re not equipped to take care of it. That puts many pets at risk for abuse and/or neglect,” Smith mentioned.
Take Mildred, a juvenile American alligator.
Mildred was saved by Smith after she fielded a frantic name from a mom of a 14-year-old boy who apparently had a secret.
“He was hiding the alligator in his room for weeks, and she found it under a pile of clothes,” Smith mentioned.
Smith mentioned the teenager acquired the alligator from a reptile present with out his dad and mom’ permission.
Mildred will stay at Sara’s till she is sufficiently old to be positioned in a authorized and acceptable facility.
For now, Mildred is used for academic functions.
The metropolis of Pittsburgh positioned a ban on proudly owning alligators final 12 months.
Stacy Hogan of O’Hara was afraid of snakes.
But Large Marge, a 10-foot-long crimson tailed boa that lives at Sara’s was instrumental in serving to Hogan recover from her worry of snakes.
Hogan mentioned Large Marge was out of her cage when she first visited Sara’s.
“Sara helped me to get me over my fear of that. I love this place,” Hogan mentioned.
Hogan has since adopted a hamster named Peanut.
“He’s my little valuable, and we play on the ground on a regular basis.
Smith mentioned many of the animals underneath her care are tough to put in new properties. Reasons embody the species needing specialised care and requiring an skilled proprietor.
Smith’s animal care resume consists of learning wildlife conservation, biology and ecology in Tanzania and a stint as biologist in a rain forest bio dome in Dubai.
Her animal stock consists of hamsters, finches, snakes, parakeets, bunnies, gerbils, rats, pigs, parrots, turtles, guinea pigs, cats and in fact, Mildred.
Sara’s unofficial rooster concierge is a spunky hen named Princess Peach.
Princess Peach likes to strut in regards to the retailer and go to with prospects.
“She was getting beat up by the other chickens, and she likes humans better than chickens. She interacts with people and absolutely loves the attention,” Smith mentioned.
Smith presents academic courses to varsities, people, teams, birthday events and fundraisers.
She shaped a nonprofit to assist with the expense of sustaining her menagerie of critters.
The best exotic animals to put in properties are bearded dragons and guinea pigs, Smith mentioned.
“However, we are often overwhelmed by guinea pigs and bearded dragons because they are purchased for children as an ‘easy pet,’ ” Smith mentioned. “The children often become uninterested, and the animals end up being surrendered.”
Lemony Snickets, a 10-year-old leopard gecko, was surrendered by her household after the kids grew up and misplaced curiosity in her.
“She’s searching for someone who will give her all the love and attention for the rest of her days,” Smith mentioned.
Customers can e-book customized 30-minute “Petting Zoo Days” classes for $15 per individual in which contributors work together, pet and find out about completely different animals.
“Petting Zoo Days” can be supplied Monday-Thursday throughout April.
Appointment occasions are scheduled from 2 p.m. to five:30 p.m.
To e-book a “Petting Zoo Days” session, occasion, celebration or to undertake name 724-826-8520.