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Posted by W von Papinešu on May 05, 2003 at 21:48:44:
HOUSTON CHRONICLE (Texas) 05 May 03 Standoff at armory ends with a splash (S.K. Bardwell)
A restless alligator briefly held the staff hostage at the Texas Army National Guard armory this morning.
Houston Police Department officer R.D. Martin was called to the armory at 15150 Westheimer Parkway just after 10 a.m. today and laughed as he described the standoff he found.
"He was standing at the front door, and every time anyone tried to go in or out, he'd hiss at them," Martin said of the 5-foot alligator. "They either had to stay in or stay out."
Martin and two more Houston officers borrowed rope from armory personnel and tried to tie the reptile's mouth shut but had better luck using a cinch-type uniform belt donated by a female officer.
"Then we carried him back toward the bayou," Martin said. It wasn't an easy job, Martin said: The alligator weighed about 200 pounds and was displeased.
Richard Long, a park manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates nearby Barker and Addicks reservoirs, said the alligator was placed in Buffalo Bayou where it runs through George Bush Park just behind the armory.
"In all likelihood, that's where he came from," Long said. "It's just that time of year. They came out of hibernation not too long ago, and they start moving around."
"He wanted to go home, and we took him home," Martin said of the alligator. Martin agreed the gator wasn't much more trouble than some drunks police deal with.
"But his teeth were sharper," the officer added.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are rethinking how to handle nuisance alligators after a Fort Bend County game warden was videotaped last month dragging and killing one lying near a school bus stop.
The tape, shown on Houston TV stations, sparked an outcry from viewers concerned that the warden treated the thrashing alligator inhumanely when he used his truck to pull the animal away from onlookers, many of them children, to a nearby spot to be shot.
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