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Police in Westerly, Rhode Island found a six-foot-long gator in a makeshift shelter in the backyard of a house.  The owner of the property called authorities when he spotted the animal near his house.

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Apparently, it illegally belonged to his tenant.

“When I went to the location, there was a makeshift shelter outside,” Art Smith, a police and animal control officer, said. “This was a bad situation for three reasons. One, alligators are prohibited in Westerly; two, the shelter was not sufficient for the alligator; and third, the owner did not have a permit as required by state law.”


The alligator, purchased in Florida, had been in the tenant’s custody for nearly a year. Housed in a shelter, Smith said the cold-blooded animal wouldn’t have made it through a tough winter.

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Meanwhile, the alligator owner will have to appear in municipal court. He’ll be charged with violating Westerly’s “dangerous animals” ordinance, and he is facing a $100 fine.

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