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Posted by W von Papinešu on April 21, 2003 at 09:18:49:
NEW HAVEN REGISTER (Connecticut) 19 April 03 Owner working to retrieve gators (Joanne M. Pelton)
Shelton: John Boyko said Friday that he is working with the state Department of Environmental Protection to get back his three pet alligators.
Boyko said, however, that if he does get back his really big reptiles, he might move out of Shelton to a community that has zoning laws that allow alligators.
In November, Bridgeport police took the alligators from a house Boyko owns in Bridgeport and placed them in the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport.
In February, Boyko appeared before the Shelton Planning and Zoning Commission to ask that the board revise city zoning regulations to allow alligators.
The commission is considering amending its regulations regarding animals and Boyko wanted alligators included in the regulations, rather than be ruled illegal. Boyko withdrew his request after he said the high-profile issue became too upsetting. He said he might go before Planning and Zoning Commission again with the same request.
"Iím still awaiting a DEP permit to own them and Iíll decide then what Iíll do," he said.
"I really miss my animals. Itís very sad for me. This whole ordeal has been very upsetting for me," said the Skyline Drive resident who has owned the reptiles for 10 years.
A spokesman for the DEP was not available for comment Friday, which was a state holiday.
Boyko said his "girls," Allie, Gertrude and Wally, are all 10 years old and that he has had them since they were only 18 inches long. The gators are now 6 feet, 5 feet 6 inches, and 5 feet, respectively. He said their average lifespan is 75 years.
Boyko characterizes his animals as tame and said they have never bitten him, or anyone else. He said when it came to mealtime, the reptiles would put their heads on his lap and heíd feed them using forceps.
"They all have Ö distinct personalities," said Boyko.
He also said the animals are playful and that, one time when he was filling up the gatorsí 1,400-gallon backyard pond with a hose, Gertrude held the hose and soaked him with water.
Boyko said he visits his animals once a week at the zoo but said he feels they are not happy there and are angry at him because they are not at home.
"They used to come when I called them. Now when I show up they look the other way and wonít look at me. This is a very bad situation," he said. "I just hope I get them back soon."
Zoo officials had said the reptiles were in good condition when brought to the zoo. Zoo officials were not available Friday.