GROVEPORT, Ohio – Police were recently called to an Ohio home to remove a large American alligator that had been living in the basement for 25 years.
While law enforcement in the South may encounter alligator’s on occasion, this is Ohio where police would not expect to encounter a gator, especially one measuring 5 feet, Fox 28 Columbus reported.
“I’ve been a police officer 17 years, and I’ve never come across an alligator,” Madison Township Patrol Commander Darrel Breneman told the station.
Breneman said police received a call Friday from paramedics saying they had just responded to a home in Groveport and they could not believe what they saw in the basement, the station reported.
The alligator was living in a tub-like structure with water and a sump pump.
Dusty Rhoades is the homeowner, and the accommodations for his reptile friend were by design. He told WBNS-TV that he got “Alli” at a reptile flea market.
“I just got him when he was about a foot long. I’ve had him ever since,” he said.
“I imagine they were pretty attached to it, being around that long,” Breneman said.
Unfortunately for Rhoades, the state requires an exotic animal permit, which he did not possess. However, he avoided being cited after agreeing to surrender the alligator to state wildlife officials, Fox 28 reported.
“Alli” was evaluated by veterinarians and found to be in average health for an alligator living in captivity, according to the report.
He’s being kept in the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Dangerous Wild Animal Facility in Reynoldsburg until he can be taken to an alligator sanctuary in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“They kind of grow to the size of the enclosure that they’re in, so he’s not reached his full potential, and I think it’s pretty exciting to know that he’s going to an alligator sanctuary in a warmer climate where he can reach his full potential and experience that,” Breneman told the station.