No Pool Party: NY Officials Take Man’s Pet Alligator by Force

About 20 armed officers in full body armor led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation raided the Hamburg, NY, home of Tony Cavallaro and seized his 12-foot, 750-pound pet alligator, “Albert.”

The agency said Albert was illegally allowed to be around other people, some of whom petted him and got in the pool with him, which “was seriously endangering the public.”

After sedating the alligator, officers taped Albert’s mouth, put him in the back of a van, and drove away to deliver him to an undisclosed location.

The DEC said Albert has “blindness in both eyes and spinal complications.”

Cavallaro giving Albert a kiss

Cavallaro, who wants him returned, said Albert is not blind and is being treated for cataracts.

He added nothing was wrong with the alligator’s spine before being carried away.

Cavallaro feeds Albert a diet of raw chicken and pork chops supplemented by vitamins and is under the care of a veterinarian.

The agency said Cavallaro’s license to keep Albert had expired in 2021, and he failed to bring the holding area into compliance. Cavallaro built a $100,000 plus addition to his home with heated floors, a filtering indoor pond with a waterfall and spa jet, and tropical plants.
The department said in a statement that “public contact with the animal is prohibited and grounds for license revocation and relocation of the animal.”

Cavallaro, 64, and Albert, 34, have lived together since he purchased him in 1990 at an Ohio reptile show as a baby. Albert has never lived in the wild.

The DEC could produce no records showing Albert has harmed anyone during the 34 years Cavallaro has owned him.

“It’s ruining my life,” Cavallaro told the Washington Post. “I miss him so much… I can’t even explain it.”

Cavallaro hired an attorney to help him get Albert returned.

Over 133,000 people signed an online petition on for Albert to be returned to Cavallaro.

In an emotional interview, Cavallaro admitted Albert likes people, and he has allowed some people to pet Albert. He also said that Albert can recognize different people and especially loves his 84-year-old mother. He swims up to greet her when she visits. His mother used to watch Albert when Cavallaro went on vacation, he said. “She would sit in his room with him and read, with him laying his head on her foot.”

Cavallaro previously owned caimans, a monitor, and lizards. There are no records of any of these harming anyone.

DEC officials declined to say where Albert is being kept. In a statement, the agency incorrectly assumed their actions were final and not subject to a court hearing. The DEC only said he’s with “a licensed caretaker who will house and care for the animal until it can be properly transported for permanent care.”

Albert, at 12 feet, probably achieved his full size, which alligators generally do around the age of 35. Male alligators generally grow to between 11 and 12 feet. Females are generally smaller, usually not growing larger than 10 feet. But their fertility is longer than humans, with females still producing young up to 70 years of age.

Albert, at 34, is comparatively young. Alligators can live up to 100 years.

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