A Facebook post led authorities in New York to an illegal pet alligator that is now being housed at a zoo. Photo courtesy of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Authorities in New York state said they seized an illegal pet alligator after a months-long investigation that started with a Facebook post.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said Environmental Conservation Police Officer Kevin Thomas received an anonymous tip last summer about a Facebook post that appeared to show an illegal pet alligator with the caption, "Just bought an alligator!"
Thomas investigated the complaint and discovered the man who made the Facebook post was incarcerated in connection with an unrelated case and the man's family said the man had considered buying the gator, not never actually purchased the reptile.
Thomas continued to investigate the case and in December he visited a home in Macedon where he interviewed a new suspect who initially denied having a pet alligator, but later allowed Thomas to enter the home and see the 3.5-foot gator, which was living in a large glass tank in the house.
"The owner stated that the animal was friendly and that he fed it out of his hand, often walking it around the house even though two large dogs live at the residence," the DEC said.
The owner admitted the alligator, named Alan, was getting to large to keep in the home. Thomas seized the animal, which is illegal to own in the state without a permit.
Alan was taken to the Seneca Park Zoo, where officials said he will remain until a permanent home can be found.
The alligator's former owner was issued a ticket for possession of an alligator.