Pet gator nabbed in Wading River store
See ya later, alligator!
An illegally kept pet alligator seized last week from a Wading River liquor store has been sent to an animal sanctuary in Massachusetts, said Chief Roy Gross of the Suffolk Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Although the 3-foot-long American alligator had been well cared for at the store, Alpine Wine & Liquor, owning one breaks state law, said Gross, whose officers confiscated the gator on Wednesday.
"This is not the kind of pet you should have," he said. "They're dangerous. It's a wild animal."
The store proprietor, Nancy Corcione, said she cared for the gator, feeding it poultry and 45 goldfish every day - "It used to eat right out of my hand," she said - and housing it in a big tank with sand.
"Its name was Nancy. It was a little girl," she said. "My employees named it Nancy because it was cute and nasty - just like me."
Corcione said an employee asked her to look after the animal while he was apartment hunting, saying he would take her back when he found a place. That was about three months ago.
Until the authorities told her otherwise, Corcione said, she'd believed that the animal was a monitor lizard, not an alligator.
"When they said, 'It's an alligator,' I said, 'Oh, my God, is it?' " Corcione said.
Two people at the store, at 6277 Route 25A, were ticketed for possessing the animal; Gross wouldn't identify them.