Family of Alligators Surprises Detroit Police Serving Eviction Notice

It didn't go smoothly.

Police officers in Detroit who were serving an eviction notice were shocked to discover that four occupants of the residence they were assigned to were alligators. City animal control employees were called to the site and helped the police remove one adult and three baby gators. Read on to find out why the gators needed to be rescued, how officials pulled it off, and where they are now.

Four Gators Removed

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The animal control workers removed the baby alligators, which were in a medium-sized tank filled with water, and the adult gator, which workers carried with its snout tied for safety, Fox News reported. It's not illegal to keep an alligator as a pet in Michigan. But it's outlawed in Detroit. "A lot of times, people can obtain an alligator without knowing the proper laws," Jovan Stacks, a federally licensed exhibitor, told Fox 2.

Not An Unusual Discovery

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Stacks told Fox 2 News that alligators can be dangerous even if they're young; they need space and care to survive. "An alligator that's not fed a proper diet, the entire snout and the mouth will be deformed," said Stacks. "It looks like whoever had this alligator, they were taking care of it." 

Detroit animal control officials said the gators were in good condition once they were removed from the home. The city's animal control department is allowed to sell, transfer or euthanize any reptile they confiscate, but these alligators will likely be given to a licensed animal keeper, officials said.

Initial Incident didn't Go Smoothly

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The roundup got a bit complicated. Detroit police said that court officers called them for backup because the tenant was angry. The tenant left before police officers arrived at the home, police say. They soon found the man, but he apparently fled on foot, then was transported elsewhere by someone in another car.

Not a Rare Occurrence in Detroit

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In November, Local 4 News found that alligators are increasingly being found around Detroit. "Alligators are being found more than 1,000 miles from their natural habitat, turning up in waterways and backyards around Metro Detroit," the station said. "People are buying them on a whim, no questions asked. Then, when the alligators grow to be too much, they're getting dumped. Which puts the alligator's life and others' lives at risk." 

For years, Local 4 had reported on stray alligators or crocodiles being found in various Detroit neighborhoods. The station went to one reptile expo where one vendor admitted to selling 300 alligators. "What happens when they get big?" the reporter asked. "You can get rid of him," the vendor said.

Local Sanctuary Full

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Many of the unwanted alligators end up at Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary, which had 200 alligators as of last month. "We are a rescue facility for unwanted or unharmed reptiles," spokesperson Lina Kelly told Local 4. "One particular alligator was locked in a dog crate for seven years," she added.

"He was never able to touch water or swim or touch the ground," Kelly said. "Some have come in really horrible situations where their mouths have been taped shut and I've had wounds all over their faces. So, some of them are locked away in closets and misshapen their spines."

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