New York Man Reportedly Feels Mistreated Following Seizure Of His 750-Pound Pet Alligator

A New York man claims he was mistreated after agents from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) took custody of his 750-pound pet alligator March 13, the New York (NY) Post reported.

Tony Cavallaro alleges that the DEC conducted a raid on his residence to seize the alligator, and the operation was conducted like a narcotics bust, according to the NY Post. “My God, they make me look like a drug lord, like Escobar, that’s what they treated it like,” Cavallaro told the outlet in a phone interview.

“What reason do they have to go to this extreme?” he reportedly continued. “They had full body armor two assault shotguns … It looks like a DEA drug bust of some kingpin. They looked like a SWAT team for a terrorist attack.”

NY man fights to get back 750-pound pet alligator back after state seizes beast that loves people but ‘not to eat’

— New York Post (@nypost) March 19, 2024

Cavallaro is campaigning to regain custody of his 34-year-old reptile, Albert, the NY Post reported. Online support for Cavallaro has grown, with over 119,000 signatures on a petition for Albert’s release. Supporters are creating “Free Albert” merchandise to back Cavallaro’s legal battle for his unique companion, according to the NY Post. (RELATED: Famous Reptile Influencer Brian Barczyk Dead Days After Posting Heartbreaking Goodbye Video)

Albert is now with a licensed caretaker, yet Cavallaro worries about his pet’s welfare. “My poor alligator, he doesn’t know what’s going on. He’s such a gentle giant, it’s unbelievable,” Cavallaro told the NY Post. “Who knows what kind of damage they could have done to him.”

The DEC seized the alligator after Cavallaro let people interact with the alligator in the water, the agency said, according to ABC 7. “Even if the owner was appropriately licensed, public contact with the animal is prohibited and grounds for license revocation and relocation of the animal,” the DEC told the outlet.

Cavallaro has given the alligator care ever since he got him at 2-months-old, the NY Post reported. He reportedly had a custom pen with a pond and special features for Albert. He maintained that community visits, sometimes involving physical interaction with Albert, were closely supervised and never endangered the public, according to the outlet.

“I knew I was gonna get a lot of support, I knew that because everybody loves my alligator,” Cavallaro told the NY Post. “If they found out where he was there would probably be 20,000 people outside of there with protest signs, ‘Free albert! Free Albert!’”