"He would sit on your lap watch TV never bit anybody ever."
That is how the owner of an alligator name 'Wally Gator' describes his pet who was taken from the West Springfield home and brought to the Forest Park Zoo less than a year ago.
The 26-year-old alligator named Wally died just over a week ago at the Forest Park Zoo, and following his passing there has been a heated fight over the gators remains.
The owner spoke for the first time on television to Western Mass News.
The owner said that he wants the remains back, and the zoo said that they don’t have them.
Forest Park Zoo said it has become so heated that an investigation has been launched.
Speaking for the first time on camera since Wally he was taken from his Westfield home, Anthony Seville told us that he bought Wally from the pet store 26 years ago.
He built an enclosure for him and his backyard, which he lived in until someone notified the police that an alligator was living in the backyard, and he was taken to the zoo last August.
He said that he bought Wally before laws were passed forbidding alligators as pets in MA.
Anthony said that over the summer months, he would visit Wally and that he seem to be in good spirits, and that he was caught off guard by his passing.
He found out that the gator died through the zoo's Facebook post.
"Wally the Gator was well taken care of throughout the years. Granted I didn't have the Everglades, but I did the best that I could-- better than they did.”
"When they put him into that habitat over the winter time, I don't think he adapted, and he died of a broken heart in the zoo instead of home where he should have been."
We did reach out to the zoo, and the acting Executive Director told us that they sympathize with Wally's owner and have been in the works of making a commemorative plate for Wally.
They said that they don't have the alligator and have been in the works of making a commemorative plate for Wally, but said that there is now an investigation involving Wally’s former owner.
In a statement to Western Mass News they said:
“Unfortunately, Mr. Saville has threatened our staff and physically assaulted a member of our board, so police are in the process of investigating this incident and we are not able to interact with him until this investigation is complete.”
They went on to say that they do not have Wally's remains and that it is standard procedure to remove any remains to the proper facility.
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