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'Dwarf' Alligator Scam Prosecuted In Orange County

Patch logo Patch 4/1/2021 Michael Woyton
Orange County prosecuted a person who illegally had and sold baby alligators. © Orange County Government Orange County prosecuted a person who illegally had and sold baby alligators.

ORANGE COUNTY, NY — What a surprise it would be to buy what you thought was a "dwarf alligator" and it turns out the critter could grow up to 15 feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler said, in a recent matter, a person was accused of selling what were called "dwarf alligators" but in reality were just baby alligators.

The person was prosecuted for the sale of wild animals in violation of the Environmental Conservation Law for selling the alligators.

A permit is required in New York state to sell or possess alligators.

Hoovler said it is not only important that the public not be defrauded when they purchase an animal, but some species can be dangerous to the owner as well as to the environment.

"The sale of alligators is regulated in New York State because of the size and strength of these animals, as well as the fact that in the wild they would be considered an invasive species which could disrupt New York's natural species," he said.

Although American alligators are no longer considered an endangered species, Hoovler said, their skins are virtually identical to those of endangered crocodilians, such as the black caiman.

"The unregulated sale of American alligators could further endanger these other species, since it takes an expert to distinguish between their skins after they are made into products," he said.

The county worked with the Environmental Conservation Police in 2020 to prosecute someone who in the business of illegally possessing and selling certain venomous snakes, including Gaboon vipers, puff adders and various Asian pit-vipers.

Hoovler said he appreciated and commended the state Environmental Conservation Police for "their ongoing efforts and cooperation with my office to keep Orange County safe and as unspoiled by contaminants and invasive species as possible."

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