A starving Pit Bull was found in an abandoned second-story apartment in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on June 5, by a landlord responding to complaints that the dog was left behind when the tenant moved a week before. But the additional discovery of a four-foot-long Cayman alligator was an unexpected and challenging surprise. The two animals were separated only by a baby gate, according to reports.
When the landlord discovered the animals, he called Animal Control Director Emanuel Mariel and asked him to come and take the Pit Bull. Then he told him, ‘There's also something else in there.” Mariel said he asked, ‘What else is in there? The landlord responded, ‘Well, you'll see when you get there.” ‘No, I want to know before going in what I’m going up against,’ and the landlord said “a big gator," Mariel told ABC News.
“This is definitely the biggest one I've ever come across,” Mariel said, adding that he never thought he'd find a four-year-old Cayman gator in New Bedford, let alone in a small Ashley Street apartment.
According to reports, the Cayman was not happy to see them either! “He was up against the corner, he started coming at us, hissing and he had a lot of momentum to get away or do his thing,” Mariel told WHDH TV.
The animal control team grabbed the reptile by the mouth and wrestled it into their arms. They wrapped electrical tape around the gator’s jaws so it could not open its maw, according to the Daily Mail.
Then they removed the pit bull, which had no water and was in a room littered with trash and feces.
The gator had puncture wounds in its neck and upper leg, but the injuries were not caused by the Pit Bull. Animal Control Director Mariel said neighbors reported that kids went into the apartment during the night and were stabbing the animal..
Police have identified the former tenant as 30-year-old Richard Fumo. He will be charged with animal cruelty and animal abandonment, unless officials determine that their is a different legal owner, the Daily Mail reports..
Massachusetts state environmental police are investigating the case, according to reports. It is believed the gator was probably purchased legally in Rhode Island. However, it is illegal to keep an alligator in a home under Massachusetts law.
“They’re predators, and that’s what nature made it. It didn’t design it to be in the house,’ reptile expert Marla Isaac told ABC News when she picked it up and transported it to New England Reptile for recovery.
The Pit Bull is being cared for at the animal shelter.
‘You've had this animal for four years and all of a sudden you just leave it behind and think it's going to fend for itself. Where’s the love?’Animal Control Director Maciel asked.