Owner of Beechview alligator waives hearing on animal neglect charges

Owner of Beechview alligator waives hearing on animal neglect charges

PITTSBURGH — A man facing animal cruelty and neglect charges after his pet alligator, Chomp, got loose in Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood was in court Thursday.

Mark McGowen waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The charges against him stem from an investigation after someone walking a dog found Chomp the alligator.

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Investigators said they found more than 30 exotic animals -- from pythons to guinea pigs -- inside McGowen's home in poor conditions.

McGowen’s attorney, Komron Maknoon, said his client loves his animals and did his best to care for them.

As for why McGowen had the animals, Maknoon said: “It's his business. I mean, he is licensed by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania for being a reptile dealer. He goes to expos, where he buys and sells. He also takes Chomp where he educates the kids, and I think everyone knows him in the community as the alligator man.”

Maknoon said McGowen misses his animals, which were seized.

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