Wild 3.5-Foot Gator Kept In Small Aquarium In FL Man's Garage: FWC

ORLANDO, FL — A central Florida man faces charges for keeping a 3.5-foot alligator he found crossing the road in an aquarium in his garage, according to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission incident report.

Criminal charges for Jean Abelard, 50, of Orlando include the unlawful sale, possession or transporting of alligators or alligator skins, and personal possession of wildlife.

After receiving reports about the gator, an FWC officer visited Abelard’s home. The suspect’s son, Chris Abelard, answered the door, and smiled when asked if alligators were being kept inside or outside the house, the incident report said.

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Chris opened the garage door for the officer, showing him a 35- to 40-gallon aquarium containing the gator. The aquarium was too small for the animal and also “dirty and only had a small mesh top with dumbbell weights holding it down,” the officer wrote in the report.

The son also showed the officer five boa constrictors being kept in separate aquariums in other parts of the garage.

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When the officer asked where the reptile came from, Chris said that “he doesn’t know anything about the alligator, this is his dad’s house … (and) he did not want to get involved and he was going to call his dad,” the report said.

Jean called the officer, who was still at the home, and identified himself as the homeowner.

He said he saw the alligator crossing the road Sept. 23 while he was working and “he did not want it to get run over or for someone to pick it up and take it home and eat it,” according to the report.

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He said he planned to take the reptile to Gatorland the following Saturday.

FWC took the gator from the garage and released it into Lake Apopka.

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