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A New York resident kept a 3-meter alligator at home and allowed children to swim with the predator in the pool


Alina Prikhodko

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A man kept a sick 3-meter alligator weighing 750 kg in the swimming pool of his home. He invited neighboring children to swim with the reptile in a special pond. According to New York Post, The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has confiscated the dangerous predator, and criminal charges may be brought against its owner.

The reptile was seized on Wednesday, March 13, from a house in Hamburg, which had an above-ground pool similar to a pond. Hamburg is a city in Erie County located approximately 24 kilometers south of Buffalo. The homeowner “allegedly allowed members of the public to enter the water to pet the unsecured alligator,” the report said. State Department of Environmental Protection New York (NYSDEC).

When the alligator was removed, it was found to have numerous health problems, including blindness in both eyes and spinal complications, officials said.

The owner's license to keep the alligator expired in 2021. At the time, the state determined that the facility in which the reptile was kept did not meet safety standards. Officers took action when they learned that “the owner was putting the public at serious risk.”

“DEC then determined that the owner's premises did not meet specific conditions that would ensure that this dangerous predator would have safe contact with humans and would not pose a threat to either humans or the animal,” NYSDEC officials said.

On the subject: Top 11 Best Aquariums and Exotic Fish Stores in New York

“It should be noted that even if the owner had the appropriate license, contact with the reptile is prohibited, and this serves as grounds for revocation of the license,” the Department of the Environment responded by email to a request from journalists. Keeping an alligator as a pet is generally prohibited by New York State law.

Fight for a pet

The reptile's owner is already fighting against the confiscation of his beloved pet Albert, who lived with him for 34 years.

“As everyone has probably heard by now, DEC and SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. – Ed.) took Albert from me. They said I was putting people in danger with it. Anyone who has met or seen Albert knows that this is not true, said the reptile's owner, Tony Cavallaro. “I took better care of him than most people take care of their children.”

Cavallaro attributed the lack of permission to recent changes in DEC regulations on keeping alligators. He claims that he tried to renew the permit, but his attempts were repeatedly ignored by the Department of Environmental Protection. Tony was trying to get his certificate renewed, especially after 34 years of legally owning the alligator.

The heartbroken man is sure that Albert was unfairly confiscated from him, because his only crime was an expired license.

“They brought at least 20 or more agents wearing bulletproof vests and carrying guns to my home and treated me like a criminal. These people acted as if I were a criminal selling weapons and drugs,” Cavallaro noted.

“The scene they created on my street is very disturbing and completely wrong. I am very upset and angry about this whole incident!”

The man received strong support on social networks: dozens of friends spoke about the love and care that Albert received in his home in Hamburg.

Many emphasized that Albert was a gentle alligator who posed no threat to the people and children with whom he swam. State environmental officials have not yet decided whether to press charges against Cavallaro.

Albert was released to a licensed caretaker until a place could be found where he could receive full-time care.

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