After 30 Years Together, New York Resident Fights to Reclaim Seized Pet Alligator

pet alligator

HAMBURG, N.Y. — A New York man is battling to get his alligator back after conservation officers confiscated the reptile, which he claims is harmless and has been a part of his family for over 30 years. Tony Cavallaro faced officers at his Buffalo suburb residence last week, who came with a warrant to take his alligator named Albert, a 12-foot (3.6-meter), 750-pound (340-kilogram) creature. They sedated Albert, secured his mouth, and transported him in a van.

The Department of Environmental Conservation cited the expiration of Cavallaro’s license to keep Albert in 2021. Furthermore, Cavallaro’s interactions with the alligator, including allowing others to touch and swim with Albert, violated regulations regarding the ownership of animals deemed dangerous.

Tony Cavallaro`s Mom Feeding Crocodile Albert
Screenshot from Instagram / cavallaro966

Cavallaro, 64, disagrees with this characterization. He insists that Albert, who has been raised in captivity since he was two months old and bought at an Ohio reptile show, has never been aggressive towards humans or pets. He reminisced about times when Albert and his dog would snuggle together.

Describing Albert as an “emotional support animal,” Cavallaro has invested $120,000 in a home extension tailored to the alligator’s needs, featuring a heated pond, tropical plants, and a bar. Since the seizure, he finds the space devoid of its main attraction.

Cavallaro’s fight to reclaim Albert has garnered widespread support, evidenced by a petition with over 120,000 signatures and social media campaigns. A friend even composed a song titled “Oh Albert, please come home” to support the cause.

Despite his personal bond with Albert, Cavallaro admits to letting visitors interact closely with the alligator, emphasizing Albert’s gentle nature, even with his elderly mother.

The issue arose from a failure to renew his license after changes in the laws governing the possession of dangerous animals in 2020. Cavallaro attempted to renew his license but found the regulations unclear and believes his previous compliance should be grandfathered in.

Cavallaro’s passion for reptiles is long-standing, with a history of owning various species. He refutes claims by the DEC about Albert’s health problems, asserting the alligator’s well-being and disputing any vision or spinal issues.

The DEC has placed Albert with a licensed caretaker temporarily, not disclosing the location, while plans for his permanent care are made. The case highlights the complexities of owning exotic pets in the U.S., where abandoned alligators in public spaces occasionally surface, raising concerns about their welfare and public safety.

Source: Yahoo

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