The Wyoming Game and Fish Department [WGFD] is reminding people about the hazards of turning aquatic pets loose in Wyoming waterways after several goldfish turned up in Rock Springs area ponds.

That's according to a WGFD news release.

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The release says the fish were found in the Bitter Creek Bark Park pond as well as several other local ponds after officials got a tip from a concerned citizen. The release quotes Fisheries Biologist Jessica Dugan as saying:

Although this issue was only recently brought to our attention, it appears we have an ongoing problem with members of the public releasing aquarium pets and pouring their aquarium water into local water bodies."

Aquatic pets can become an invasive species problem when owners let them loose, and it is also cruel to the animal.

“When pets get too large or difficult to keep, some people think they are being kind by letting them loose in the wild. That’s not the case,” Dugan said. “Most pets will starve or freeze to death and those that do survive can cause significant ecological impacts.”

Releasing any aquatic pets, including goldfish, can have significant impacts on local fisheries. Goldfish are fast-growing, with mature individuals averaging about 12 inches, but can reach sizes up to 23 inches."

The release goes on to say that pets such as goldfish could release diseases that could impact trout and other Wyoming sports fish, hurting the fishing experience for Wyoming anglers.

People who are caught releasing non-native species in Wyoming could potentially face fines of up to $10,000 as well as the loss of hunting and fishing privileges.

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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