Orlando homeowner admits to keeping 3-ft alligator in his garage

An Orlando homeowner who claims he was trying to protect an alligator from getting run over was cited with a misdemeanor by state wildlife officials after he admitted to capturing the animal and keeping it in his garage.

The incident was reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on September 29.

According to a report obtained by Orlando-News.com through a public records quest, on October 3, an FWCC officer visited a residence located on Limewood Lane in Pine Hills.

According to the report, upon arriving at the residence, the officer spoke with an individual who identified himself as the son of the homeowner.

In his report, the officer says he explained to the son that he was visiting the home because of reports of an alligator on the premises.

The officer says that, after he asked the son if there were any “alligators inside or outside of the house,” he noticed the son smile. After a short conversation, the son opened the garage door to the home and showed the officer a “35 to 40-gallon aquarium containing an American alligator,” according to the report.

Alligator found in Orlando mans garage 2
This alligator was seized from an Orlando homeowner and released into Lake Apopka (Photo: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

The officer estimated the length of the alligator to be 3 feet, 5 inches.

When asked about the alligator, the officer says the son allegedly told him that he didn’t know “anything about the alligator,” and that the home belonged to his father. He showed the officer five boa constrictors that were “being kept in separate aquariums in other parts of the garage,” according to the report.

The homeowner, Jean Abelard, spoke with the officer over the telephone and told him that on September 23, he saw the alligator while he was working.

Abelard allegedly watched the alligator crossing the road and did not want it to get run over or for “someone to pick it up and take it home and eat it,” according to the report.

Abelard allegedly admitted to the officer that he took the alligator and was going to “take it to Gatorland” the following weekend so that it “would not be harmed,” according to the report.

In his report, the officer noted that Abelard does not possess the “Class II permit” that is required to possess an alligator. He went on to state that the 35-gallon aquarium also did not meet the “caging requirements for the possession of an alligator.”

“Not only was the aquarium small, but it was dirty and only had a small mesh top with dumbbell weights holding it down,” reads the officer’s report.

After speaking with Abelard, the officer seized the alligator and gave Abelard’s son a property receipt indicating that he had recovered the animal and was taking it from the home.

The live alligator was taken and released into Lake Apopka, according to the report.

Abelard was charged with unlawful sale, possession, or transporting of alligators and nonnative and captive wildlife penalties. Both offenses are second-degree misdemeanors.

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