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Posted by W von Papineäu on February 15, 2003 at 11:32:36:
NEW HAVEN REGISTER (Connecticut) 14 February 03 Gators in good hands, experts say (Andrew Blejwas)
Shelton: Reptile experts say John Boyko’s three alligators are in good hands. That news, however, is cold comfort to his neighbors.
Boyko, who is seeking the city’s permission to continue keeping three alligators, Wally, Gertrude and Allie, in his basement and back yard at 30 Skyline Drive, has received support from state reptile experts, but at least several residents say they do not feel comfortable with the giant reptiles next door.
"I had no idea they were back there," said one neighbor, who asked not to be identified. "I just don’t think it’s very safe."
However, Charles Annicelli III, co-founder of the Connecticut Herpetologists League and an animal caretaker at the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale Peabody Museum, said Boyko takes good care of the animals.
"I feel John A. Boyko with 10 years of experience has the knowledge and ability to properly care for his three alligators," Annicelli said, in a letter to zoning officials.
Boyko "has a qualified veterinarian looking after them if any ailments are noted. It is my feeling that the three alligators in question should stay under John’s care where some of them have been for 10 years and have been flourishing," Annicelli wrote.
Boyko approached the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday for official permission to keep the three pet alligators that have been living in his basement and back yard for 10 years. He said he learned the zoning commission is considering amending its animal regulations and wanted to get permission to keep the alligators before they were ruled illegal.
The commission delayed a vote on Boyko’s request until March.
Because the commission does not have any regulations concerning alligators, a resident who went into the city’s planning and zoning offices this week to file a complaint left without doing so. It turned out Boyko is not violating any city law.
On Thursday, one of Boyko’s neighbors said she was not aware of Boyko’s alligators, which are between 5 and 6 feet long, until she read about them in the paper.
In the summer Boyko, who could not be reached for comment Thursday, keeps the alligators in a 1,400-gallon backyard pond.
"My alligators stay outdoors from May to October in fenced-in enclosures with sufficient water and land areas. … Their winters are spent indoors in an enclosed room with access to natural light in order to regulate their biological clocks," Boyko wrote in a letter to zoning officials.
The state Department of Environmental Protection is requesting Boyko receive permission from the local zoning commission to keep the alligators. Officials from the DEP did not immediately return calls seeking comment Thursday.