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17 alligators tunnel their way to freedom

June 22, 2011 at 4:30 AM

HERNANDO, Fla., June 22 (UPI) -- Wildlife authorities in Florida said 17 alligators tunneled their way out of a gator farm but at least nine have been recaptured.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said they were searching for the remaining fugitive gators from the Hernando farm, which has a permit and passed a February inspection by the agency, Bay News 9, St. Petersburg, Fla., reported Tuesday.

The officials warned neighbors to be on the lookout for the missing reptiles.

The gator farm owner, who was not identified, was cited for maintaining wildlife in an unsafe or unsanitary condition, wildlife officials said. The owner could face a fine of up to $500 or 60 days in jail for the second-degree misdemeanor.

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