Controversy arises over sale of 'Sugar Gliders' at Sailfest - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Controversy arises over sale of 'Sugar Gliders' at Sailfest

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NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

A little known exotic animal is causing a big controversy on the Connecticut shoreline.

Known as “Sugar Gliders,” the marsupials were recently sold at Sailfest in New London, but it looks like it will be the last time they will appear at the annual street fair.

The Sugar Gliders look like flying squirrels, but they are actually small, nocturnal marsupials.

Owning them in some states is illegal, but not in Connecticut.

For years the animal rights organization PETA has been working to stop the sale of these animals, saying that they are not only bred in extremely inhumane conditions, but they also don’t make good pets.

"When they do their homework they learn...Sugar Gliders are high maintenance, nocturnal, require a special diet and vets familiar with their needs,” said Gemma Vaughan, a PETA cruelty case worker.

After receiving backlash from the public, Sailfest organizers decided to ban the company Pocket Pets, who sold the Sugar Gliders, from returning to the fair.

The lead organizer of Sailfest said she couldn’t speak to Eyewitness News on Wednesday.

However, Pocket Pets defended themselves in a statement and said “We had an overwhelmingly positive response from Sailfest patrons who really enjoyed our presence there. The few isolated complaints came from PETA members who aren't even from Connecticut. Our company was founded on the idea of making sure these animals are adopted out in an ethically responsible way."

Either way, it appears changes will be coming to the Sailfest lineup next year where there will be no live animals of any kind.

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