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Cops come out when an alligator takes a stroll

November 19, 2008 | 11:38 am

alligator discovered wandering the streets of venice

What do you do when you find a 2-foot alligator strolling through your neighborhood?

Call the police.

That's what a resident in the 200 block of 4th Avenue in Venice did early this morning when he spotted an alligator walking in the middle of the street. Police who arrived at about 1:40 a.m. found the alligator crawling under a bush in someone's frontyard. They quickly corralled it into a trash bin and notified animal control, which arrived later to collect the reptile, said Sgt. Marc Reina of the Los Angeles Police Department.

The alligator, above, was being held at an animal shelter until a representative from a local herpetology society could arrive to collect it, said Capt. Louis Dedeaux of the Los Angeles Animal Services Department. No one yet has claimed the grayish-colored alligator. Police estimated it was 3 feet long, though animal services officials thought it was closer to 2 feet.

Reina said it was unusual to find an alligator wandering around Venice, especially that neighborhood. "That's several blocks away from the beach," he said.

In his 25 years with the department, Dedeaux said he has seen as many as 20 alligators, many of whom were confiscated from owners.

"Chances are it got away from someone or got out of its confinement area," Dedeaux said.

Last week, a man entered a bar in Huntington Beach with his pet 3-foot alligator on a leash. In late August, a 5 1/2-foot alligator named Ziggy was found in a North Hollywood home. Alligators are a restricted species in California and require a possession permit.

-- James Wagner

Photo: Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times

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