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IN Press: Humane Society raids home


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Posted by W von Papinešu on February 15, 2003 at 12:04:16:

SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE (Indiana) 15 February 03 Humane Society raids home - Alligator, pythons, pit bulls removed (Bryon Coppens)
Photo: Humane Officer Eric Durcinka holds an alligator impounded from a Mishawaka home Friday. He estimated the alligator weighs about 50 pounds. (Bryon Coppens)
Mishawaka: The newest resident at the St. Joseph County Humane Society won't be eating Alpo or Purina.
It'll be placed on a steady diet of raw chicken bought whole from the area Martin's Super Market.
An alligator, weighing about 50 pounds, was confiscated from a Mishawaka home Friday morning, along with 10 pit bulls, two pythons and a tortoise.
The alligator's length was estimated at between 4 and 5 feet.
"He's too mean to get a good measure right now," said Humane Officer Eric Durcinka.
The alligator apparently shared a bedroom of the home with the pit bulls and was separated from the dogs by a 4-foot-high wire fence.
"Not to mention that he had a 4-foot-by-12-foot pond in the room," Durcinka said.
The other animals were easily removed from the home in the 200 block of North Elder Street, but handling the alligator required some extra precautions.
To get the alligator out, Durcinka first put a control-stick around the reptile's neck.
"And then I just grabbed him by the hind end and carried him out the door," he said.
The man who was keeping the animals was not at home at the time, but relatives who were home attempted to contact him by phone, according to Durcinka.
Photo: An alligator confiscated from a Mishawaka home Friday rests inside a tub at the St. Joseph County Humane Society while staffers prepare more comfortable accommodations. (Bryon Coppens)
"He was at another pet store," Durcinka said.
The Humane Society believes that in addition to harboring the alligator, pythons and tortoise, the man was also breeding and selling the pit bulls, eight of which are puppies.
It wasn't the first time the Humane Society visited the home.
Durcinka said a 1-foot-long alligator was confiscated from the same residence last year, but the person keeping it claimed not to know an alligator is not allowed as a pet in St. Joseph County.
The Humane Society got a tip Thursday that another, larger alligator had moved in.
Durcinka said he would like to see a citation issued this time around because the man keeping the alligator knowingly violated the law. The city of Mishawaka would issue the citation if one is issued.
"It wasn't something that showed up at the house and he let him in," Durcinka said.
Depending on how the legal aspect plays out, the alligator may be placed in a zoo.
In the meantime, the alligator will be housed in the Humane Society's "hot room," where the temperature is kept above 80 degrees. It will also have a shallow pool at the society's Grape Road facility to enjoy as well as a place where it may "sun" itself under the heat lamps.
Durcinka said no one should bother to inquire about viewing or adopting the alligator, pythons or tortoise. The pythons will likely end up with a rescue service, which would find a place for the animals, and the tortoise eventually will be released.

(Photos at URL link)



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