WallyGator the Emotional Support Alligator Is Missing, His Owner Says

WallyGator the Emotional Support Alligator Is Missing, His Owner Says


WallyGator, the emotional support alligator who enjoyed a moment of fame last year when he was denied admittance to a Major League Baseball game, is back in the news.

He’s gone.

Wally’s owner, Joie Henney, said on social media that the alligator had been taken early in the morning of April 21 from a pen where he was being kept in Brunswick, Ga.

Mr. Henney said on Monday that he had learned that Wally was taken by a person who had then dropped him in someone else’s yard, possibly to scare them. When the alligator was discovered, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources was called, and brought in a trapper, who caught and released the animal into a swamp where about 20 other alligators lived, Mr. Henney said.

Mr. Henney, of Jonestown, Pa., said the trapper had told him that the chances of finding the alligator now were “slim to none,” but Mr. Henney was holding out hope and said he planned to search for WallyGator.

As of Tuesday night, he said, there had been no luck finding Wally, who is roughly 8 to 9 years old and about six feet in length.

The Georgia agency said in a statement Wednesday that it often received calls about “nuisance alligators.”

“The agent trapper’s handling of a nuisance alligator was appropriate and routine,” it said. “We have no information confirming whether this is the same alligator that is being reported as stolen/missing (aka ‘Wally’).”

Mr. Henney did not immediately respond to a message left for him on Wednesday.

Wally was originally found at Disney World, and Mr. Henney took him in at his reptile rescue facility in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Henney said Wally had helped him out of a deep emotional depression. He began taking the alligator along on errands and walking him on a leash. In interviews, he has said Wally is gentle, demonstrating this by putting his hand in the alligator’s mouth and removing it without getting bitten.

Last fall, Mr. Henney and Wally went to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia to catch a Phillies game. But they were turned away, as the policy at the park is to permit service dogs but not other animals.

Mr. Henney has parlayed his relationship with Wally into a significant social media presence, and many people reached out this week with words of support and offers to help in a search.

The number of people who live with a variety of animals for mental health reasons has grown rapidly in recent years. Though most of the animals are dogs, they also include a wider menagerie, including ducks, pigs and squirrels. The animals are often taken to restaurants, stores and public places, sometimes leading to consternation or confrontation.

Alain Delaquérière contributed research.



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