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It's Illegal To Sell Or Own Alligators Without Permit, DA Says

The 'dwarf' alligators sold as baby alligators.
The 'dwarf' alligators sold as baby alligators. Photo Credit: Orange County District Attorney's Office

The prosecution of a person for selling dwarf alligators as baby alligators has authorities reminding residents it's illegal to own or sell the reptiles without a permit.

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler commended the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police for their enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of wild animals in Orange County, and all of New York State. 

In one recent matter, an individual was prosecuted for the sale of wild animals for selling juvenile alligators, which were being sold as “dwarf alligators," the DA's Office said.

The alligators were American alligators which can grow up to 15 feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds, although they normally grow to less than eleven feet and weigh less than 700 pounds. 

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

“Not only is it 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,” said Hoovler. 

Although American alligators are no longer considered to be an endangered species, their skins are virtually identical to the skins of endangered crocodilians, such as the black caiman, and the unregulated sale of American alligators could further endanger the species since it takes an expert to distinguish between their skins after they are made into products, Hoovler said.

In 2020, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office partnered with the DEC Police to prosecute an individual in the business of illegally possessing and selling certain venomous snakes. 

Some of the snakes included Gaboon vipers, puff adders, and various Asian pit-vipers. These snakes were extremely dangerous that were sent to the Bronx Zoo, one of the very few organizations in the area authorized under the law to possess those types of snakes, he added.

“I appreciate and commend the New York 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," Hoovler said.

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