The scales of justice seem to have tipped in favor of an American alligator named Zachary.
Zachary, 9 years old and 5 feet long, will be heading to a licensed wildlife sanctuary after spending time living in an aquarium as an illegal pet in New York State. Its former owners turned it over to authorities this week, the Suffolk County SPCA said in a Facebook post along with photos of the reptile.
The alligator’s previous owners were a husband and wife who kept it in an empty aquarium, ABC 7 New York reported. The couple had purchased Zach out of state but did not have a license to own an alligator, and said when they returned him they were no longer able to care for him.
“Alligators don’t make good pets, are a danger to the public, and it’s illegal to own them without a government permit. [New York State Department of Environmental Conservation]Suffolk County SPCA chief Ray Gross told NBC New York. “They are very, very dangerous animals. They can inflict serious injury or even death. … I can’t imagine someone sitting on a couch with an alligator curled up in their lap. meaning.
NYSDEC Captain Timothy Byrnes made similar comments.
“Our message is, don’t own them,” he said.
NYSDEC and the Suffolk County SPCA allow owners of illegal exotic pets to release them without fines or fees, and urge people not to simply release these animals into the wild.
People who release alligators on Long Island, where Suffolk County is located, are a surprisingly common problem. The SPCA noted on Facebook that one year 22 alligators were released on Long Island.