SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - A barking dog alerted a Santa Fe woman of an intruder. When she checked her backyard and saw a 2-foot alligator hanging out by the door, she was shocked.
"Everybody thought I cried wolf," said Serenity Casias. "Animal Control: 'Are you sure ma'am its not a lizard?' My husband, same thing, 'Take a picture; I don't really believe you.'"
It's still a mystery as to how the alligator got in the yard, but police said it was very hungry.
It was Casias' bulldog, Bruno, whose barking led her right to him. The gator had been drawn to Bruno's dog food bowl.
"I just kept (shouting) 'Bruno, Bruno get away from it,' and he wouldn't listen to me he," said Casias. "He was more like curious, he'd bark at it and kind of get near it, back up and bark at it, and the alligator would kind of try to like whip his tail at it because it couldn't snap at it."
The alligator had it's mouth taped shut. Santa Fe Police said it appeared the tape had been there at least a couple weeks, long enough to become embedded in it's skin. For that reason, the incident it being looked into as an animal cruelty case.
Marks are still visible on the alligator's mouth where the tape had been. The alligator couldn't eat or defend itself.
Animal Control officers were able to grab the gator before anyone was hurt.
"It's kind of actually a scary thought, especially in Santa Fe. I could see if I lived in Florida or Mississippi, but it's not something common here," said Casias.
Police said they suspect the alligator may have wandered for quite some time before Bruno cornered it.
"I kind of feel sorry for the little guy because apparently he was starving and you know," said Casias. "I'm glad actually he's going to be put somewhere that he's going to be taken care of, because regardless, he's a living creature. No animal deserves to have its mouth taped for who knows how long it was taped."
The alligator is currently at the Santa Fe Animal Shelter where he's being cared for and eating. Police said it's likely the gator will go to an alligator rescue in Colorado, where they are better equipped to handle animals like this.
Santa Fe police said it appears the alligator was someone's pet. If the previous owner is found, they could face animal cruelty and illegal exotic pet charges.
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