PITTSBURGH — The owner of the alligator captured in Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood said he is fighting to get back more than 30 animals that were taken from his home.
Mark McGowen said police and animal control raided his home, which contained 40 animals. They took more than 30 of them.
McGowen said the officers told him the seized animals did not have adequate enclosures.
The 33 exotic animals that were confiscated -- including three alligators, five turtles, four hairless rats and two Burmese pythons -- were taken to Humane Animal Rescue’s East End shelter. A rattlesnake was taken to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium.
“All of the animals are in poor condition,” Dr. Ariella Samson, chief veterinary officer, said. “One Chinese water dragon was deceased on arrival, but our staff is working overtime to get the rest of the animals checked in and housed humanely.”
McGowen was seen cleaning the alligator's enclosure on the day the reptile captured in Beechview escaped.
“He pushed over the gate somehow. It was raining out. He must've smelled the rain because they have senses,” McGowen said.
McGowen said his animals are around children all the time, and that he rescued them and nursed them back to health. He said they are an educational opportunity for children.
It's not clear whether McGowen will face any charges.
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