Fifteen alligators and more than 100 exotic reptiles have been recovered in Suffolk County in the past 12 months, and the SPCA wants to know who’s responsible. They’re offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons who are dumping the animals.
In the most recent incident, two teenage boys discovered a 3 1/2-foot-long alligator on a road in Wading River. Estimated to be between 3 and 4-years-old, the starving, dehydrated gator was found very near a supermarket, a pizzeria and an ice cream shop. There was also a pumpkin patch nearby. The boys placed the alligator in a watery container and turned it over to the Suffolk County SPCA, who in turn sent it to an out-of-state sanctuary.
SPCA Chief Ray Gross speculates, “What if a little kid went to pick a pumpkin and the alligator was sitting behind the pumpkin? There are so many things that could have gone wrong.”
Whoever abandoned the alligator could face charges of endangering the public with a wild animal, animal abuse or neglect, and abandonment, each punishable by up to a year in prison and/or $1,000 in fines. They could also be charged with possession of an illegal reptile.
Anyone with information about the alligator or any of the abandoned reptiles is asked to call 631-382-7722. All calls will be kept confidential.