7-foot 'pet' alligators found at South Daytona home
Police, wildlife officials investigating discovery
SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla. – Two 7-foot "pet" alligators were found in a South Daytona back yard after a woman pulling weeds discovered the beasts, police said.
The gators, 12 and 14 years old, were located Thursday night at 568 Lambright Road after a neighbor was pulling weeds and heard a knocking sound on a fence, according to South Daytona police, who said the woman saw one of the gators slapping the fence with its tail.
The woman and her husband had another neighbor call police and officers spotted two gators in the fenced-in yard.
"There's an alligator in that house, in the backyard," the caller told dispatchers. It's running around because this person was cutting the grass and pulling out weeds and then all the sudden they heard a (noise) and hit it hard and they looked and they saw it."
Photos taken from a neighbor's yard showed the gators in a long makeshift pen with two small pools of water.
South Daytona police said the homeowner is on vacation in Kentucky and told officials that he had raised the animals "from the egg." He's lived in the Lambright Road home for six years.
Across the street from the home is South Daytona Christian School.
"If kids know that there's gators back there, it's going to be problems," said teacher Tami Fricke. "They're gonna try to get to it."
South Daytona does not permit alligators to be kept within city limits, and the owner, who does not have a license to keep the animals, could face a misdemeanor charge, police said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the alligators will not be moved until next week at the earliest, adding that there's no concern about the animals escaping.
FWC investigator Rick Brown said wildlife officials will meet with the homeowner when he returns and give him the chance to move the gators or turn them over to the state.
Even if the owner got a permit for the animals, they would not be able to live in his yard since FWC mandates at least 2.5 acres of land for gators longer than four feet.
Brown said the gators appeared to be healthy and well-fed.
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