The owner of a young alligator discovered in a plastic container in an empty New Jersey lot earlier this week has been identified and is now facing charges, according to officials, who discovered that the “good Samaritans” who reported the discovery were actually responsible for the alligator’s abandonment.
The Monmouth County SPCA identified Savion Mendez of East Orange and the claimed finding Angel Rosario of Asbury Park as the primary persons of interest.
Mendez allegedly purchased the baby alligator at a Pennsylvania reptile show and kept him in a 150-gallon tank at his home in East Orange. MCSPCA Humane Law Enforcement reports that when Mendez was evicted from his East Orange home, he moved with the alligator to the Twinbrook Apartment Complex in Ocean Township, where he and his new housemates are now also facing eviction.
Rosario, a friend of Mendez, allegedly offered to take the alligator, according to officials. Officials say that when Rosario’s parents refused to allow him to keep the 3-foot-long lizard, they posed as good Samaritans and called the Neptune Township Police Department to report the animal’s abandonment.
Although the Monmouth County SPCA states that “at no time was the alligator left in a dangerous or life-threatening position,” Mendez, Rosario, and even Rosario’s parents will be charged in relation to the abandonment of the juvenile alligator.
The New Jersey Department of Fish and Wildlife will pursue regulatory charges against Mendez for the offence of keeping a forbidden and dangerous foreign species, according to the SPCA. In the meantime, Rosario and his parents are charged with filing a false police complaint.
Attorney information for the defendant was not immediately available.
The animal has been transported to the Cape May Zoo.
“Alligators and caimans, which are considered potentially harmful exotic animals, are banned for New Jersey people to keep.” “Ross Licitra, executive director of the MCSPCA, stated. “In addition to posing a threat to the public, keeping these animals in captivity necessitates specialised care that can only be provided by experts.”