Welcome to the wild

By on July 11, 2018

When Denver Borough councilman Dan Rogers, of Sycamore Street, opened the door to his backyard to take out the dog on a hot, steamy Saturday, June 30, a three foot alligator was directly in front of him on the cement walk.

“I screamed,” Rogers said, “and went back inside. The alligator scurried to the driveway along the side of my house where my business truck is parked.”

East Cocalico Police officer Eric Fisher was first to respond to the 911 dispatcher’s call on June 30 about 6:40 p.m. Two other officers arrived on the scene shortly after this.

“Where’s the alligator?” Fisher asked. With full moon two days prior, and mental health issues typically on the rise at that time of the month, officers at first considered this could be some type of mental health call.

Roger’s wife, Selma, said it was under the truck.

Using a snare which officers typically use to catch run-away dogs, Fisher got the large, curved hook around the alligator’s neck to bring the reptile out from under the truck.

Rogers found a large, red rubber tub with a green lid, which people usually use for storage. Officers placed the unhappy, growling alligator in it.

Closing the lid was tricky as the alligator put up quite a fuss.
Once back at the station, the alligator’s luck was about to change for the better when Jesse Rothacker, from Forgotten Friend Reptile Sanctuary in Elm, outside of Lititz, showed up.

The alligator, which most likely was someone’s pet until it grew too large to handle, should have never been released into the wild.
Fortunately for this alligator, its destination is to a reptile sanctuary in Florida.

Jesse Rothacker holds the alligator caught by East Cocalico Police. (Photo by Lancaster Online) 

Rothacker stressed that alligators are not good pets and are not suited for Pennsylvania’s climate. Alligators are a ticking time bomb, Rothacker told LNP reporter Abigail King. They could eat your pets and family members.

Alligators are legal in Pennsylvania. They are not legal in any of the surrounding states.

State Representative Mindy Fee said, “A number of municipalities in Pennsylvania have their own regulations about the ownership of various exotic pets and can implement an ordinance as they see fit. I have found that the PA Fish and Boat Commission currently has the power to issue a regulation that would direct how this is handled on a statewide basis. I will continue to be aware of this issue.”

Stacy Davis, purchasing director at That Fish and Pet Place in Lancaster said, “We do not sell alligators.” When asked if the store would find an alligator if someone would request such a pet, she said no, the store would not.

East Cocalico Police ask anyone with information about the alligator released in Denver to call the station at 717-336-1725.
Alice Hummer is a correspondent for the Ephrata Review.


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