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Family Finds 2-Foot Alligator in Joplin, MO

JOPLIN, Mo. -- Humane Society workers in Joplin are keeping their fingers free of one particular animal in their care right now. A two foot alligator was found hiding in a mud hole in an alley behind a Joplin home.
JOPLIN, Mo. -- Humane Society workers in Joplin are keeping their fingers free of one particular animal in their care right now.  A two foot alligator was found hiding in a mudhole in an alley behind a Joplin home. 

The homeowner called Joplin's Humane Society.
It's now being housed in the Humane Society's garage, which is away from pets and anyone who might think this reptile is up for adoption. 

The woman who found the reptile says she's glad no pets or humans were hurt.  "The dog catcher, he was all excited!  He said that was the first alligator call he'd been on here," says Sheila Ray.  "We don't even know how long he was in that mud puddle.  We'd mowed the day before and didn't see him."

Joplin Humane Society worker Lysa Boston says residents aren't allowed to keep alligators as pets.  "Our vet is actually exploring who would be the appropriate person to take and keep and provide adequate care Certainly people would have to have the necesary permit.  I think that you have to be a zoo or rescue, to legally own one," says Boston.

City officials had not determined whether this was a crocodile or alligator.  But the director of the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri says this is a young American alligator. 

The Humane Society's veterinarian is trying to find a new home for it.  In the meantime, the animal is being fed once a day with chicken, hamburger, or hot dogs.

(story contributed by CBS affiliate KOAM, Joplin, Mo)

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