GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Kent County officials shared some more details about how dangerous it could be to keep an alligator as a pet.
The gator, over three feet long, was removed from a storage unit at York Creek Apartments in Comstock Park over the weekend. The gator snapped a few times at animal control officers.
"Your heart stops," said responding Kent County Animal Control Officer Joe Apolo. "You don’t really see that type of thing every day."
The Kent County Health Department released video Monday of the gator as it was being moved from the Kent County Animal Shelter to a different location where it could be better cared for. The animal can be seen thrashing around, trying to get at handlers.
"They are a little aggressive," said Officer Apolo. "This one did snap a few times and, again, alligators can be pretty dangerous so thankfully nobody was hurt during the process."
The identity of the gator's owner has not yet been determined, but whoever it is could face some serious repercussions. Exotic pets that are not licensed could land owners in jail for up to 90 days along with some pretty hefty fines. Outside of shelter organizations and sanctuaries, animals deemed exotic cannot be kept in Michigan, regardless of county. Though it is up to the discretion of the animal control department, most animals outside of standard house pets like cats and dogs are considered exotic.
Officer Apolo said, shocking as this was, it's not necessarily uncommon for gators to pop up around West Michigan.
"Unfortunately it happens probably about three to four times a year," said Officer Apolo. "Most of the time the gators we do find are babies still and don;t pose much of a danger."