An alligator found on the Long Island Expressway near Exit 68 on Monday morning is now in the custody of the SPCA, but the questions are just beginning! The SPCA is offering a $1,000 reward for information about the alligator's origins—namely because keeping an alligator is illegal. SPCA head Roy Gross said, "This is not something that will be tolerated in Suffolk County and if you have something like this, you're not only endangering yourself or your family but you're endangering the public."
According to NBC New York (which has video), a driver called 911 after spotting the creature. Suffolk County Sgt. John Rung arrived and recounted, "When I approached the alligator, I thought it was actually injured or maybe dead because it was laying on its stomach. When I tapped it with my police baton, it whipped around and showed its teeth." Rung and his partner ended up using a milk crate and then a cat carrier to get the alligator to the SPCA.
The SPCA may press charges of animal cruelty, abandonment and endangering the public against the owner. As for the alligator, he will be heading to a wildlife sanctuary. And here's a blast from metro area's reptile past: In 2006, a caiman alligator was found in Brooklyn; cops investigating a NJ break-in in 2009 found alligators; and in 2003, the city was riveted by the tail of Antoine Yates, the Harlem man whose apartment contained not just a caiman but a tiger as well.