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Animal Services gets another alligator to place

July 28, 2011 • Local News

Roswell Animal Services received another alligator, Wednesday. The 2-year – old American alligator was turned in voluntarily unlike the previous two, which were confiscated in March when the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force served a search warrant at the 900 block of Lusk Street and found two alligators inside the residence.

“I got it from my nephew. He was willing to tell me where he got it,” said John Irish. The 24-inch ’gator was lucky. Irish provided it with a decent home as long as he had it.

The alligator had a wading pool with sand bottom and places where it could drag itself out of the water. Federal law prohibits keeping alligators as pets. The keeper must have an exotic animal permit and must fulfill certain housing requirements.

New Mexico goes a step further, the state has a ban on individual possession of nondomesticated felines, primates, crocodiles, alligators and wolves. Irish said of his short term house guest.

“He likes hot dogs — my grandkids fed him hot dogs — he didn’t like me.” Irish also admits a certain relief at signing the animal over to Animal Control. “I couldn’t take care of him.” In Roswell, a health certificate must be presented to Animal Control within 14 days.

City ordinances also require the animal must be kept in the right facilities and cannot constitute a nuisance or endanger the safety of any person or property. Irish will not receive a citation since he both provided the appropriate habitat and turned the animal in to the proper authorities.

“As long as he gets back to his natural habitat, that’s all I care about.”

This alligator will probably follow its predecessors to Albuquerque’s ABQ BioPark Zoo, where it will be put in quarantine for a period of up to two months. Then it will be sent to St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park in Florida.

Kennel manager Tammy McKee said that she had already arranged transport for the alligator, but must wait until she receives approval from Albuquerque. This year represents a bit of a bumper crop. The last time Animal Control received a crocodilian, a Cayman, was in 2008.

j.palmer@roswell-record.com

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