LA woman has alligator pet seized after claims she fed it feral cats

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 17, 2015 in Rat Answers | Subscribe
  • The animal was found in the backyard of Van Nuys resident Laura Mattson
  • Mattson had cared for the alligator, Jaxson, since her husband brought it home when it was a baby 36 years ago
  • Authorities believe Mattson fed the alligator cats, since several dead cats were found nearby
  • Mattson claims she hand-fed Jaxson hot dogs and chicken 

Pete D’amato for MailOnline

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California animal control discovered an eight-foot alligator surrounded by the bodies of two cats at a suburban Los Angeles home on Monday.

The female crocodile named Jaxson was found in a box with a lid at the home of Laura Mattson, who had been caring for the reptile for years, possibly decades.

‘It was found under foliage and debris. You had to be looking for it to locate it,’ said Mark Salazar, of field operations director for Los Angeles Animal Services, who said experts estimate Jaxson is 40 years old. 

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Later gator: Authorities discovered an eight-foot crocodile Jaxson being kept at the home of Laura Mattson, who provided a photo of Jaxson among several kittens to show how docile the animal was

Later gator: Authorities discovered an eight-foot crocodile Jaxson being kept at the home of Laura Mattson, who provided a photo of Jaxson among several kittens to show how docile the animal was

Los Angeles Zoo officials impounded and moved the reptile (pictured), estimated to be about 40 years old

Los Angeles Zoo officials impounded and moved the reptile (pictured), estimated to be about 40 years old

Mattson said her late husband Jim brought Jaxson into the family when it was a baby. She lamented the fact that animal control had removed it from the property.

‘It’s like losing part of my family and plus losing part of Jim. So now I’ve lost him too,’ Mattson told ABC.

After finding two dead cats alongside Jaxson, authorities said they believe Mattson was feeding the felines to the alligator, a claim she and her brother deny.

‘Now we lost the alligator. And now they’re making statements that shouldn’t be making because nobody’s feeding cats to the alligator,’ said Mattson’s brother Ron Gorecki.

‘We got plenty of money to feed whatever we have to feed,’ he added.

Mattson explained she cared for several neutered feral cats at her home, telling NBC the alligator had been hand-fed ‘hot dogs and chicken for 36 years.’

Habitat: The female crocodile, believed to be 37 years old, was found in a box with a lid, where Mattson kept her to keep her from being taken by officers

Habitat: The female crocodile, believed to be 37 years old, was found in a box with a lid, where Mattson kept her to keep her from being taken by officers

Housepet: Mattson claimed her late husband Jim brought the gator into the family when it was a baby, and that losing it was like losing a part of her husband

Housepet: Mattson claimed her late husband Jim brought the gator into the family when it was a baby, and that losing it was like losing a part of her husband

Fed: Mattson's brother Ron Gorecki denied any claim they were feeding cats to the alligator and said Jaxson was part of the family

Fed: Mattson’s brother Ron Gorecki denied any claim they were feeding cats to the alligator and said Jaxson was part of the family

‘She was so docile, she would let rats eat the hot dogs out of her mouth,’ Mattson told the station. 

Officers still paid a visit to neighbors in the area to ask whether any small pets had disappeared in the past.

Authorities had been hunting around the neighborhood of Van Nuys for the animal since 2014, when animal control received a call about an alligator and arrived on Mattson’s doorstep.

A search of the property came up empty then, but officers returned Monday after a neighbor reported seeing the gator.

Mattson refused to allow animal control to enter the home, so officers went to a judge to obtain a search warrant and finally found Jaxson. 

It is illegal to keep wildlife in Los Angeles without a permit. For the time being, Jaxson will be held at the Los Angeles Zoo while animal control conducts an investigation.

Mattson said the animal was only in the box to keep animal services from taking it, but also claimed she had been looking to find a home for Jaxson, and tried calling the zoo, but it was full.

‘I understand now it’s not legal, but when it becomes a pet, it becomes your family,’ her brother told ABC. 

‘When it becomes your family, you protect the pet and the people involved. That’s all there is to it,’ he added.


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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2911050/Southern-California-family-claims-weren-t-feeding-cats-eight-foot-alligator-discovered-living-home-surrounded-dead-cats.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

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