Wally the emotional support alligator stolen during Georgia vacation trip was released into swamp

Wally the alligator has amassed national fame as a cuddly pet, invited to baseball games and inspiring a ‘Loki’ character, but the well-known friendly reptile was stolen and has still not been found

Amelia Neath
Wednesday 01 May 2024 23:34 BST
Pennsylvania man’s emotional support alligator was stolen and released into Georgia swamp

The infamous Wally the ‘emotional support alligatorhas been stolen while on vacation in Georgia and released back into a swamp.

Wally the Gator, best known for being an emotional support pet who often gives out cuddles to the public and has amassed thousands of followers on social media for his unusually friendly behaviour, was stolen over a week ago, his owner, Joie Henney, says.

Wally’s Facebook page has been updating fans of Wally’s disappearance on the animal’s Facebook page. The alligator was reportedly stolen from his enclosure on 21 April in the early hours of the morning while he was visiting friends in Brunswick, Georgia.

Initial walking searches in the area failed to locate the alligator, the page said.

In an update on Sunday, a post on the page claimed that Wally was “stolen by some jerk who likes to drop alligators off into someone’s yard to terrorise them”.

The Department of Natural Resources were called on Wally, who in turn called a trapper to escort Wally away.

The page said that Wally was then released into a swamp with about 20 other alligators the same day, with the trapper telling Wally’s owner that finding the emotional support animal would be “slim to none”.

The DNR confirmed to WJCL that they received a report of a “nuisance alligator” in Brunswick the day that Wally disappeared, which they referred to an agent trapper, but could not confirm if it was the emotional support alligator.

When Mr Henney found out where Wally had been dropped off, he and his friends headed to the swamp to continue their search.

After news spread that Wally was reportedly stolen and then dropped off in the swamp, an alligator rescue group called GatorBoys offered their help in finding Wally.

Wally, the emotional support alligator, has gone missing in a swamp in Georgia
Wally, the emotional support alligator, has gone missing in a swamp in Georgia (Joie Henney/ wallygatornjoie/ Instagram)

As of Wednesday, finding the elusive animal has been unsuccessful, and attempts are being made to try and get more specific information as to where Wally was set free.

This is not the first time that Wally has made headlines, as last year, the alligator was turned away from a baseball game in Philadelphia despite being invited by a fan who knew the players.

Mr Henney told The Independent in September that his emotional support alligator was denied entry into the ground to see the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

While he and Wally have been to other games together in the past, this time, he was invited to meet the players and their families before they started the game, but said that he understood why they were not let into the ground and had no hard feelings over the incident.

Wally was taken in by Mr Henney, who runs a reptile rescue in Pennsylvania, seven years ago, Southern Living reported.

Wally was registered as an emotional support animal after he helped Mr Henney get through tough times when he lost three family members and four friends in the space of two weeks a few years back.

“If I’d lay there and fall asleep, he’d cuddle up beside me, put his head on my shoulder, his arm around me, which I really thought was extremely weird,” Mr Henney told WPHL. “And he followed me around like a puppy.”

Since then, Wally has found fame as a finalist in the America’s Favourite Pet competition and even inspired an alligator character in the Marvel TV show Loki.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Mr Henney to help with costs related to Wally being stolen.

“I want to thank everyone for their support and their concern,” Mr Henney wrote on Facebook as the search continued. “Wally is very important to me as well as to a lot of other people that he makes happy and puts joy in their hearts.”

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