Pet alligator in New York impounded by state government, owner says it was ‘like attacking a terrorist’s home’

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Tony Cavallaro returned from a quick trip to the post office to find law enforcement swarming his western New York home like ‘they were raiding’ terrorist“.

“I pulled into the driveway, got out of the car, and the guy grabbed my hand and grabbed my phone,” Cavallaro told Fox Digital News. “He reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet. .” “They’re hanging out in my house. About 20 men fully armed.

“I saw two guys in the driveway with shotguns. Everybody had a handgun. It was crazy. They hadn’t told me in a while that they were going to take my alligator. I was like, ‘Why?’ I couldn’t even see him before they took him away.”

this New York state The Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), which executed the search warrant, told Fox News Digital that Cavallaro’s permit had expired, saying: “The owner is seriously endangering the public.”

Crocodile Albert’s “father” grits his teeth and wants to get his pet crocodile impounded by the state: “Free Albert”

Authorities impounded the alligator, Albert, who DEC said had health issues. (New York State Department of Environmental Protection)

Cavallaro has had “Albert” since 1990, when the 11-foot, 750-pound alligator was a two-month-old baby. Now 34, he lives in a custom-made enclosure Cavallaro built in 2016 at his home in Hamburg, New York.

“He was a gentle giant. I’m a mess right now,” Cavallaro said. “I get emotional when I start talking about it. I check on him all day long. When I wake up, or I have to use the bathroom, I go in and see if he pops up so I can Being able to see him and hang out with him.

“I’m really worried about where they’re taking him now. He likes his pool and his pillow and he has his routine…I know he’s not in a good situation. This is his home .”

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Albert the crocodile at 1.5 years old

Tony Cavallaro holds 1.5-year-old alligator Albert. Crocodile is now 34 years old. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

Since Albert was taken away by the government, the story has gone viral on social media with the hashtag #FreeAlbert. Throughout the interview process, Cavallaro received nearly a dozen support calls.

He said people from other countries messaged him on Facebook or emailed him. More than 100,000 people have signed an online petition asking the government to return Albert to his “father”.

Watch Cavallaro vs. Alberto

Cavallaro recalls bringing Albert to educational programs And invite friends over to play with him. He once had a dog, and when Albert was little, the two pets often slept in the same bed together.

As Albert grew older, the license did not allow him to perform, so Cavallaro moved from Buffalo to Hamburg, where he built paddocks.

Cavallaro relives funny stories of Albert grabbing his pillows and rearranging them to his liking, or making his life difficult when he threw them into the swimming pool.

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Albert was especially fond of Cavallaro’s mother, who took care of him for many years while Cavallaro was away on business.

“If she was sitting in the room reading a book or whatever, he would come over and sit with her,” Cavallaro said of their relationship. “He loved my mom. He heard her voice and he came over and saw her.”

Mom of Albert the Crocodile and Tony Cavallaro

Tony Cavallaro’s mother caresses Albert the alligator. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

crocodile albert "love my mother," said the owner of his pet alligator.

Pet crocodile’s owner says Albert the crocodile “loves my mum”. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

So what’s the problem?

According to the New York State Ecological Council, issues at the heart of the Free Albert debate are permit lapses and public contact with alligators.

“New York State prohibits the possession of animals designated as dangerous, including alligators, unless a permit is obtained from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC),” the agency told Fox News Digital in an email.

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“These licenses, along with those authorizing them to be held for regulated activities, protect the animals and the public. In this case, the previous owner’s license to hold the crocodile expired in 2021 and was not renewed.

“At that time, DEC determined that the owner’s facility failed to meet certain conditions to ensure that this dangerous animal would not come into contact with humans and would not pose a threat to humans or animals.”

New York state authorities seized a pet alligator named "albert," From the owners of New York burgers.

New York state authorities confiscated a pet alligator, Albert, from his owner in Hamburg, N.Y. (New York State Department of Environmental Protection)

Those conditions included deficiencies in the alligator-keeping area that needed to be corrected before Cavallaro’s license could be renewed.

Even so, Albert may still be in tow because Cavallaro allowed the public to swim with and take photos with his pet.

“To be clear, even if the owner is properly licensed, public contact with the animal is prohibited and grounds for revoking the animal’s license and relocating the animal are warranted,” the DEC said.

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Cavallaro said the only people Albert hung out with were close friends from his family.

“These are my friends and their friends. The public didn’t touch him,” Cavallaro said in response to the DEC’s allegations. “All the parents who come here with their children will vouch for me. I would never put them in harm’s way.

“Everyone who knew Albert knew he was the biggest baby on the planet. I mean, I could put my hand on his tongue and he wouldn’t bite me.”

Tony Cavallaro's friends play with Albert the crocodile

Tony Cavallaro said friends played with Albert at his home, which the DEC disputed. “I would never put them in harm’s way,” Cavallaro said. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

Albert the crocodile in a sweatshirt

Albert the Crocodile rocked a sweatshirt and lay on a pillow. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

According to the DEC, Albert the Alligator has been turned over to a licensed caretaker who will keep the animal until it can be transported to permanent care.

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The DEC said evidence is still being collected as part of the search warrant and ongoing investigation to determine whether any potential charges will be filed.

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But as Cavallaro prepared to take legal action to get his “baby” back, he was wavering.

Meanwhile, the community embraced the Western New York native with planned rallies and “Free Albert” signs and T-shirts.

Tony Cavallaro said he enjoyed stopping by to see if Albert was floating or playing with him on the water

Tony Cavallaro said he likes to stop by to see Albert and see him floating or play with him on the water. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

Albert the crocodile and his "dad" Tony Cavallaro

Alligator Albert and his “dad” Tony Cavallaro have raised Albert since he was two months old. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

Courtney Valent, a friend of Cavallaro’s, told Fox News Digital that some pets are “cute and cuddly. Some pets may not look like them, but they’re cute, too.”

“Tony will do whatever it takes to bring Albert home, and he has a huge group of supporters behind him,” said Valente, president and founder of Empire Animal Rescue in Salamanca, New York.

“Albert’s life and well-being mattered,” Valente said. “Whether it was an alligator or not, it should have been with its owner… This whole ordeal could have been handled differently. It could have been handled in a civilized way, with grace for the owner and compassion for Albert.”

“I hate feeling like this”

This appears to be heading towards a protracted legal battle, which is underway in Cavallaro.

“This feeling went through me. I was very angry about it, very emotional,” he said. “I hate these people more than you can imagine. Nothing can change that.

“I think they are the most unsympathetic, evil people on the planet. I wish them nothing good and I hate feeling that way.”

Albert the Alligator wears his Buffalo Bills hat.

Albert the Gator wearing a Buffalo Bills hat. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

Albert the crocodile lies on the pillow,

Albert the crocodile lies on the pillow. (played by Tony Cavallaro)

Even if authorities drag Albert away, Cavallaro said they won’t let him say goodbye to the alligator.

“They wouldn’t let me see anything. I was outside his room, but I couldn’t turn around and look out the window. They said I couldn’t,” Cavallaro said. “These guys were messing around in my house. They were looking for another animal. That’s what the warrant said, but I didn’t have anything else.”

“It was so invasive. … There were 10 people in the other room with him (Albert), and they took me inside as they carried him out because they didn’t want me to see anything. “

"crocodile albert" at his home in Erie County, New York, before state agencies seized the alligator.

Albert raised the alligator at his home in Erie County, New York, before state agencies captured it. (

What’s next?

At the moment, it’s unclear how this situation will play out, but it looks like Go to court.

Cavallaro said he plans to meet with attorneys next week to discuss next steps, and the DEC said the investigation is ongoing and will determine whether charges or violations will be filed against Albert’s “father.”

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“The investigation is ongoing. DEC will provide further information as it becomes available,” DEC said.

Fox News Digital’s Elyse Perry contributed to this report.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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