FALL RIVER, Mass., Oct. 27 (UPI) — A Massachusetts pet store owner said he captured an alligator spotted behind a shopping mall to prevent the reptile from being killed by authorities.
Robert Schenck, owner of Animal Instincts pet store in Fall River, said he decided to wade into the swamp behind a Fall River mall at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday to ensure the 5-foot alligator was captured alive and well, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
“When I got there, no one was going to go into the swamp, and the general consensus was that the Environmental Police would just put it down,” Schenck said. “I’m one of those people that refuses to see an animal die, even if it requires me to jump in a swamp full of leeches.”
Schenck bound the reptile’s jaws with electrical tape and carried it out of the swamp. Kate Plourd, spokeswoman for the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said the gator was turned over to a reptile specialist to find it a new home. Alligators are illegal to keep in Massachusetts except for educational or scientific purposes.
Authorities said the reptile was likely a pet that escaped or was set free in nearby Rhode Island, where alligators can legally be kept as pets.
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