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Posted by W von Papinešu on April 17, 2003 at 20:19:29:
ARIZONA REPUBLIC (Phoenix) 17 April 03 Reptile society welcomes seized gator (Diana Balazs)
Scottsdale: Charlie and Lucy are living the good life in north Scottsdale.
They spend much of the day in their tiled pool. They feast on specially purchased chicken. A staff attends to their every need.
Not bad for a pair of alligators rescued recently by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and turned over to the care of the Phoenix Herpetological Society.
The society, which is devoted to the branch of zoology that involves the study of reptiles and amphibians, is serving as the American alligators' foster parents.
It is illegal in Arizona to possess exotic wildlife such as alligators. The pair were seized at a Maryvale home April 7 by Game and Fish authorities after the department received a tip about the alligators' whereabouts.
Game and Fish spokesman Rory Aikens said the two are being held as evidence.
"They are under the jurisdiction of the courts," he said. "They are wards of the state."
They were seized from a West Valley residence where they lived in a muddy pit in the back yard. Their owner was cited for possessing restricted wildlife, Aikens said.
The alligators were in bad shape, said Scottsdale resident Russ Johnson, president of the Phoenix Herpetological Society.
"Their whole bottom jaws were covered with algae," he said.
Goldfish have been added to their pool and the fish are eating the algae off the alligators, he said.
Charlie and Lucy are being housed in a facility built on 2Ĺ acres in north Scottsdale to care for them and other critters that cannot be cared for by Game and Fish, said Johnson, 51.
The non-profit society spent $11,000 to build the facility, which includes double fencing and 24-hour camera monitors. Society members did the labor themselves.
The goal is to place the alligators in homes out of state, but that could be difficult, Aikens said.
"It's mighty hard to place mature large alligators," he said.
If that doesn't happen, the society is happy to care for them permanently, Johnson said.
That care can be expensive, however. The society relies on donations and is looking for a corporate sponsor to help out.
Charlie and Lucy can each consume 5 to 10 pounds of food per day, Johnson said.
The society can be reached at (602) 550-1090.