Crews from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District rescued an alligator from the shallow waters of Big Creek Thursday afternoon. A surveyor saw the reptile in the creek near a sewer outfall and alerted Sewer District crews who were conducting maintenance on the agency's Jennings Road Pump Station.
"It was in the Big Creek near the Steal Yard Commons. We have a facility in that area and our crews were doing some maintenance in the building and the creek that runs through. That is where we found the alligator," says sewer district spokesperson Jeannie Chapman.
The alligator was cold, near death, and has a missing toe.
"We've just been caring for him they've been filling the cooler with some warmer water trying to revive him a little bit, and I think it's working because he's been extremely active this afternoon and looks like he's doing extremely well," says sewer district spokesperson Jeannie Chapman.
In an effort to revive it, crews placed the animal in a garbage can with warm water. The alligator is about 18 to 24 inches long and its species was not known. The Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has been alerted.
To ensure its safety, the Sewer District crew transported the alligator to the Sewer District's EMSC facility located at 4747 East 49th Street in Cuyahoga Heights. Laboratory staffers are caring for the animal until the Sewer District receives further instruction from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Given that deadline for registering exotic animals, which includes alligators, with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, was on Monday, November 5, 2012, there is speculation that the animal may have been released to avoid the costs of the new regulations.
However, it has not been confirmed. As a precaution, though, Sewer District officials would like strongly urge owners of exotic pets not to release any type of exotic reptile into local waterbodies or in sewers.
The law was put in place after pet owner Terry Thompson released dozens of wild animals from his Zanesville farm in October 2011. He then took his own life.
"It's not good for the pet. It's not good for the general public, and it's not good for our crews who are going out," says sewer district spokesperson Jeannie Chapman.
Turns out the alligator is a "she", who they have now named "Jenni."
If you have an exotic animal and want to find a home for it call the Department of Agriculture at (614) 728-6220.