Blind 11ft alligator named Albert seized from New York home where it was being kept illegally

The owner of Albert is vowing to try and get his pet alligator back after he was seized by New York authorities

Amelia Neath
Friday 22 March 2024 12:15 GMT
11ft Alligator Seized From New York Home Where It Was Being Kept Illegally

Environmental officials have seized a 750-pound blind alligator that was being kept at a house in Hamburg, New York.

Albert the alligator, who is thought to be over 30 years old, was taken after the New York Environmental Conservation Department (DEC) found out that the homeowner had built an addition to his house and installed a swimming pool for his 11-foot pet.

Tony Cavallaro, Albert’s owner, allegedly also allowed members of the public to get into the alligator’s pool to pet the unsecured animal, the officials said.

Mr Cavallaro told The Associated Press that the alligator had been with him since the 1990s and promised to fight for his return. He said that he treated Albert as if he were his child and had never put anyone in danger.

Mr Cavallaro told 7News that kids have posed in the pool with Albert, but it didn’t happen very often.

“I’m not dangerous. I’m not being unsafe with people,” he told The Associated Press.

Albert is reported to have blindness and spinal issues (New York DEC via AP)

While Mr Cavallaro did own a DEC licence for the alligator, it expired in 2021 and was never renewed, the officials said.

With help from the Hamburg police department and Erie County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ECOs seized the large alligator in “the interest of public safety and the health, safety, and protection of the alligator”.

The alligator is reported to have numerous health issues, such as blindness in both eyes and spinal complications.

Speaking to 7News, Mr Cavallaro denied the health issues and said that he gave the alligator medication for his eyes, but he was not blind and that he had never noticed any spinal issues.

The owner was alleged to have allowed people to pose with the alligator (New York DEC via AP)

The authorities transported the alligator to a licenced caretaker who will look after the animal until it can be taken into permanent care.

However, a petition has been created to try and get Albert back to his owner.

Mr Cavallaro said in the petition that he “took care of him better than most people take care of their kids,” adding that he’s abided by all the rules and has held a permit annually, but allegedly had some issues when trying to renew it.

“I’m Albert’s dad, that’s all there is to it,” he told 7News. “He’s like family to everybody.”

In a statement to 7News, the DEC said, “At that time, DEC determined the owner’s facility failed to meet specific conditions to ensure this dangerous animal did not come in contact with humans and did not pose a threat to humans or the animal. To be clear, even if the owner was appropriately licenced, public contact with the animal is prohibited and grounds for licence revocation and relocation of the animal."

The Independent has contacted the DEC for comment.

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