Pet gator nabbed in Wading River store

Specially-trained officers from the Suffolk County SPCA's Emergency

Specially-trained officers from the Suffolk County SPCA's Emergency Animal Response Team (EART) responded to Alpine Wine & Liquor in Wading River and removed an illegally possessed alligator on Wednesday, September 29. Photo Credit: SPCA

advertisement | advertise on newsday

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."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

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.

The best of Newsday every day in your inbox. Get the Newsday Now newsletter!

Comments now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: