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Longview Animal Control seizes 3-foot alligator from residence

By Reese Gordon rgordon@news-journal.com
July 7, 2014 at 6:58 a.m.

Animal control officers in Longview get a lot of calls to collect wild animals, but the one they got Monday falls into to the category of "pretty rare."

Longview Animal Control officers seized a three-foot American alligator Monday from a home in Longview.

"I would say this is not something I see everyday," Gregg County Game Warden Todd Long said. "I'd say alligators in Longview are a pretty rare call."

Long said the alligator was found at a residence near Enterprise Street and is in the custody of animal control officer Chris Kemper.

"Longview Animal Control and myself received some information that there was an alligator at a private residence so we followed up on that," he said. "We found the alligator and are trying to track down the owner."

Long said he has worked many cases where people keep wild animals, including deer, in captivity, but alligators are a different story.

The owner of the alligator could be given multiple citations and forced to pay up to $500 in fines if he or she does not have proper permits, Long said.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department states that permits must be obtained before a person can hunt, raise or possess alligators. It is unlawful to intentionally feed a free-ranging alligator unless the feeding takes place as part of a hunt.

"He appears pretty healthy and taken care of but without the proper permits, we seized the animal," Long said. "We will take him to a free-ranging place so he can be with other alligators."

Long said Kemper has been in contact with reptile experts at Caldwell Zoo in Tyler to determine the alligator's age.

"We are guessing that he is between one and two years old," Long said. "When they are kept in captivity, that sometimes stunts their growth and they don't get as big as they do in the wild."



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