Police recovered an alligator from a backyard in West Springfield, Massachusetts on Thursday.
The alligator, spanning six feet and weighing around 200 pounds, was being kept as a pet in a fenced-off area in the backyard.
West Springfield Police Captain Michael Banas stated that around 12:30 in the afternoon the police department received an anonymous call reporting that an alligator had been spotted at a home on Main Street. A crew from Springfield’s Forest Park Zoo was called in to capture the animal, which was then taken away in the back of a pickup truck.
The reptile is currently being held at the zoo while Massachusetts Environmental Police investigate the animal’s presence in the backyard since it is illegal to own an alligator as a pet.
Police Sergeant Nolan Ryan stated that he was unsure if the incident would prompt any charges against the homeowner, but did mention that the police have been receiving reports that the alligator had been living at the residence for 26 years. Ryan could not yet confirm if this was true.
Forest Park Zoo Spokesperson Meghan Rothschild made the following statement: “Some of you have probably heard by now, but earlier this afternoon we assisted in the rescue of a six foot, 150 pound alligator from West Springfield. He is doing well and is in our custody being cared for. We are honored to have been a part of helping West Springfield PD in making sure this animal is safe and taken care of. We will keep you posted on developments.”
Authorities are not certain just how the animal was obtained or how it made its way into the backyard of a Massachusetts resident. If the animal had, in fact, lived at the residence for over 20 years, it is surprising that none of the neighbors noticed or complained before. According to a recent study, as many as 90% of people with a yard think that it is important to keep it well-maintained. This is perhaps not what most homeowners have in mind when they imagine a well-maintained yard.