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Nine gators rescued by Phoenix group

PHOENIX – The Phoenix Herpetological Society has been a little busy.

It’s because of all of the alligators it’s been taking in lately. “In the last two weeks, we’ve taken in about nine alligators ranging in size from about three and a half feet to about nine inches,” Society President Russ Johnson said.

Most of the gators came from out of state. “We’ve helped out several other states with rescues that can’t facilitate the holding of alligators,” Johnson said.

But one was found because of what Johnson calls stupid criminals.

“A gentleman caught two individuals breaking into his car, so he took them at gunpoint, and made them strip down,” Johnson said. “A bystander saw the two naked guys and called the police.”

Once cops arrived, they found an alligator inside the would-be car theft victim’s apartment. The man had been keeping it as a pet, which is illegal in Arizona. Johnson said anyone who violates that law could be fined up to $750.

He said other states such as Texas and Florida do allow alligators as pets. But it’s not a good idea. Johnson said that a little alligator that you think is a good pet now is going to grow to as much as eight feet in length. He said the animal that could give you “a little nip” now could be able to “bite off your finger three years from now.”