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Pet alligators aren't illegal in Michigan

Posted at 8:56 PM, Jun 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-28 04:44:43-04

DELTA TWP. MICH — It was pretty shocking to find out on Thursday that an alligator had been run over on a street here in mid-Michigan.

An alligator was hit by a car Thursday morning in Lansing. (Source Doug Garn)News 10's Kellan Buddy was on the scene and said that it was even more surprising to learn that the owner wasn't breaking any laws by keeping a pet gator.

"I got a text in the wee hours of the morning, as I’m the officer who was on call last night," said Eaton County Animal Control Officer Rebecca Neal. "And I let them know that we would extend our services, pick him up and take care of him."

Eaton County Central Dispatch tells me this wasn't the first time they'd gotten a call about Wally.

"We’ve had calls in the past from concerned people that saw the alligator," said Mike Armitage, Director of Eaton County 911.
"Obviously if someone's not familiar with that, it draws concern, especially in Michigan when you're seeing an alligator.”

Alligators are allowed to be kept as pets in Eaton County.

The state bans animals like lions and tigers and bears, but not gators.

However, there are no state regulations for reptiles, meaning it's up to individual counties.

"It’s not for everyone, I guess is the easiest way to put it," said Neal.

Armitage said even though they received multiple calls about Wally over the years, he was never a threat to anyone.

Eaton County Animal Control says that most pet alligators are bought at exotic reptile shows, when they are just a few inches long.

But before you run out and buy one, remember they can grow up to 15 feet long and 500 pounds.

"Some days we have strange things like this happen, you know? It's kind of out of the ordinary," said Neal.

Wally's family did not want to talk to News 10.

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