Home » Ailing 750-pound alligator seized from NY home after gentle giant would swim with kids

Ailing 750-pound alligator seized from NY home after gentle giant would swim with kids

by Marko Florentino
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A Western New York community is rallying behind a man who kept an ailing 11-foot, 750-pound alligator in a pool inside his home — where children were invited to swim with the gentle giant.

The 34-year-old reptile was seized Wednesday from the Hamburg house, which was decked out with an in-ground swimming pool made to look like a pond.

The homeowner “allegedly allowed members of the public to get into the water to pet the unsecured alligator,” the state Department of Environmental Conservation said.

The 750-pound alligator was seized from its enclosure in a Hamburg home Wednesday. Change.org

The massive gator had numerous health-related issues, including blindness in both eyes and spinal complications when he was removed from the home, according to officials.

The owner’s state license to keep the alligator expired in 2021. The state determined at that time the alligator’s holding area failed to meet safety standards. Officers took action this week after learning the “extent at which the owner was seriously endangering the public.”

“At that time, DEC determined the owner’s facility failed to meet specific conditions to ensure this dangerous animal did not come in contact with humans and did not pose a threat to humans or the animal,” the NYSDEC told The Post in an email.

“To be clear, even if the owner was appropriately licensed, public contact with the animal is prohibited and grounds for license revocation and relocation of the animal.”

The owner said 34-year-old “Albert” had been legally living in the house until his permit lapsed several years ago. Hamburg Police Department and the Erie County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Possession of an alligator as a pet, however, is also prohibited by New York State Law.

The DEC would not answer The Post’s question as to whether the ailments were a result of the alligator’s captivity.

The reptile-lover is already fighting back against the seizure of his beloved pet “Albert,” who has been with him for 34 years.

“As everyone has probably already heard The DEC and SPCA took Albert away from me saying that I put people in harm’s way with him. Every one who has met Albert or knows Albert knows that this is not true,” self-identified owner Tony Cavallaro wrote in an online petition.

The Hamburg community is rallying behind Tony Cavallaro and asking that Albert be returned. Hamburg Police Department and the Erie County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

“I took care of him better than most people take care of their kids.”

Cavallaro chalked his permit lapse to recent changes in DEC rules for alligator ownership.

He claims he tried to renew his permit, but was repeatedly ignored by the DEC when he tried to ensure that his certification would be grandfathered in, especially after 34 years of legal alligator ownership.

The grieving man also accused the DEC of aggressively seizing Albert despite his claim that his only crime was a lapsed permit.

“They also brought at least 20 or more agents to my house in full body armor and guns treating me like a criminal. It was like I was a gun dealing drug dealing criminal the way they acted,” Cavallaro continued.

“The scene that they made on my street is very disturbing and totally wrong. I am very upset and angry about this whole incident!”

Cavallaro has strong support on social media from the community, with dozens of friends vouching for the love and care Albert was provided in the Hamburg home.

Many added that Albert was a gentle alligator who didn’t pose a threat to the people and children he swam with.

State environmental officials haven’t decided whether to bring charges against Cavallaro.

Albert has since been turned over to a licensed caretaker until a place is found where he can receive permanent care, the DEC said.

Hamburg is a town in Erie County roughly 15 miles south of Buffalo.



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