Residents upset after neighborhood gator killed

File photo of an alligator
Caption
File photo of an alligator

Credit: Joe Raedle

Credit: Joe Raedle

Florida residents are upset after a neighborhood pet, an alligator named Wally, was killed.

>> Read more trending news

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission was ordered to trap and kill a gator in New Port Richey because they thought it was a threat to locals, WFTS reported.

Members of the community felt otherwise.

“I loved him, personally,” area resident Kelly Kerr told WFTS.

For the last four years, Wally lived in a pond surrounded by a 4-foot concrete wall with a 6-foot-high chain link fence on top of that, WFTS reported.

The pond is adjacent to an Irish pub owned by Vince Lamattina.

“Everybody knew his name was Wally,” Lamattina said.

One pub customer said he enjoyed going to the bar-restaurant with his grandchildren because they liked to see Wally.

While some community residents told WFTS that the gator never posed a problem, FWC officials said they had received eight complaints about the reptile since 2008, and FWC policy says nuisance gators longer than 4 feet should be killed instead of relocated.

Wildlife officials captured the gator in front of Lamattina’s customers.

One customer called the removal “inhumane.”

“I was distraught. I’d never seen anything like that,” Kerr told WFTS. “I didn’t know that would be the way it would be handled.”

“If lives are in danger, yes, like if this alligator had not been in an enclosed area, that would be a danger, but in this case, it’s not a danger,” resident Laurie Bercaw told WFTS.

The people in the community who talked to WFTS said they understand the policy, but said they thought the gator shouldn’t have been killed.

“I agree if Florida has certain laws to protect people, (but) him being here for 4 years, he wasn't harming anybody,” Lamattina told WFTS.

See more at WFTS.

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.