Man Fights to Keep Cookie-Loving Gator He's Owned for Nearly 50 Years
See you later, alligator... or maybe not.
A Florida man may have found himself on the wrong side of the law as he was informed his 13-foot cookie-devouring pet gator has become too large for his enclosure.
David Van Buren, a retired firefighter living in Coconut Grove, was just 9 when his family took in Gwendolyn, who's now lived with him for 47 years. The reptile accompanied him to college and enjoys snacking on pizza and Chips Ahoy, he told WSVN.
Gwendolyn, who can usually be found cooling off in Van Buren’s backyard pool, drew the scrutiny of Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) officials, who believe the gator requires more secure fencing.
“The FWC is currently working with Mr. Van Buren toward a lawful solution regarding the caging and license requirements for the alligator,” Robert Klepper, a public information coordinator with the agency, told InsideEdition.com via email.
The FWC, which is reportedly keen to fashion a solution that allows Gwendolyn to stay with Van Buren, said that for the time being, the animal’s current living arrangement would remain unchanged.
Van Buren, who was unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon, told WSVN that he would do what he could to make sure he kept his beloved pet.
It’s not the first time Gwendolyn has made headlines. In 1994, the state tried to remove the alligator from Van Buren’s custody in a case that ultimately went all the way to then Gov. Lawton Chiles. A state court eventually ruled the reptile could return home.
Van Buren insists his beloved pet is safe and its current enclosure is secure.