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Gator’s owner found, probe into animal’s release continues

 

 

BURLINGTON — The owner of an alligator found in a drainage ditch near Walmart in Burlington earlier this week has contacted authorities about his animal, but the investigation into how and why the small reptile was released in the first place continues.

“Someone other than the owner turned it loose,” Darren Abbott, wildlife officer for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said. Abbott said he had few details about the case because it is being investigated by others in his department. Abbott said the animal, approximately two-and-a-half to three feet long, would have been in trouble once summer and fall were past and cold weather set in.

“The best case scenario, (it could have survived) until first frost came. With reptiles, their body temperature is the outside temperature,” Abbott said. “Long term, it could not have survived in the wild (in Ohio).”

Abbott said charges could be filed in the case but he doesn’t know if any will be.

The alligator was found Monday afternoon in a ditch along County Road 1 behind the Walmart store.