County woman has “pet” gator removed from backyard
By Kyle Mooty
An alligator that had lived for about 20 years after being hatched from an egg in the Dale area and living in a woman’s backyard has been taken by members of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and a New Braunfels zoo and relocated.
The almost 8-foot gator, weighing about 225 pounds, was taken to the Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo in New Braunfels, where the woman said she had stolen the egg while volunteering there about 20 years ago.
The gator was found in a fenced back yard in Caldwell County. The woman had other pets, but they were in the house, according to TPWD.
“The gator is in fantastic condition,” said Jarrod Forthman, Deputy Director of Animal World and Snake Farm Zoo. “It’s too bad the woman can’t keep it, but she can visit it anytime at our place.”
The woman, who advised that the gator was a pet, did not have the proper permits to keep the gator and received two Class C citations for having the gator at her residence and she faces up to $1,000 in fines and fees. She will not be charged for stealing the egg due to the statute of limitations having expired. Texas law only allows people to keep alligators at their residence if they are farming, educating, or using them for zoological reasons.
On average, alligators lay between 32 and 46 eggs annually.
The gator was released alongside others at the zoo.
Caldwell County Game Warden Joann Garza Mayberry and fellow TPWD Game Warden Emily Slubar were joined by members of the zoo in rescuing the alligator.
While the game wardens said it was apparent the gator had been taken care of, it was also obvious that it had outgrown its territory provided by the woman.