RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Animal Care and Control had a cold-blooded afternoon a few weeks ago when they received a call complaining there was a baby alligator at someone’s home.
According to Richmond Animal Care and Control, the shelter received the call on Aug 25. The caller mentioned that a couple of dogs and an alligator had been abandoned.
Rob Leinberger is the Animal Control Supervisor for RACC. Leinberger said officers responded to the 4200 block of Forest Hill Avenue and found a 28-inch long alligator on the back porch in a cage.
“Naturally we’re a little suspicious when we get calls like that because we don’t deal with alligators every single day,” said Leinberger.
When officers arrived to the home, no one was there.
“We left a note saying, hey we got your alligator, and they called back. Then we had a conversation with them about why they had an alligator. They said they got it locally,” said Leinberger.
The department had to organize a coordinated response and permitted rehabilitation rescue with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
Alligators or any crocodilian species are prohibited in the commonwealth without federal permits and RACC said this is the second instance an alligator has been rescued in the city in the past few years.
John (JD) Kleopfer is the State Herpetologist with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources. Kleopfer told 8news, the department typically will confiscate 2-3 alligators a year. Kleopfer said residents tend to buy them as pets when they’re little and raise them for a few years. When they outgrow their tank, people normally try to dump them somewhere.
“These animals are cute when they’re little but taking in a pet is not a temporary interest,” said Kleopfer. “You need to plan accordingly and it’s your responsibility.”
Kleopfer said the department has often gotten calls from “disgruntled” ex-girlfriends that rat their significant others out. Every few years, an alligator is found once or twice, swimming around in a pond in Virginia.
The department is working on exotic pet legislation for the city as animals are highly specialized and shouldn’t be kept as pets. The alligator was brought back to RACC and was transferred to the Department of Wildlife Resources.
The Facebook post by RACC was getting obvious attention as well. Some were even relating the small alligator to that of the God of Mischief, Loki, from the popular Disney+ series.
The post said “#saynotokeepinganalligator #fortheloveofallthatisholy.”
The rescued alligator is with RACC for rehabilitation.