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3-foot Alligator Caught in Chappaqua Sanctuary – In The Press

3-foot Alligator Caught in Chappaqua Sanctuary
The Journal News . August 14, 2008
By Shawn Cohen

CHAPPAQUA – A 3-foot alligator that has been splashing around a local pond has been captured, ending a strange and somewhat frightening spectacle that had residents staring in disbelief.

Westchester Wildlife Control fished the creature out of the Pine Cliff Sanctuary, a day after a local man reported the gator to police.

That man, Robert D’Allasandro expressed a sense of relief, having discovered the reptile sunning itself on a rock Tuesday as he was walking around the pond.

“When he spotted me, he jumped in the water and then he turned around and popped his whole head out,” D’Allasandro, a Chappaqua retiree, recalled today. “His eyes were looking right at me for about 10 minutes. He was staring at me and I was staring at him.”

He grabbed his cell phone and called New Castle police.

“They were a little dumbfounded,” D’Allasandro said. “I mean, who sees an alligator in Westchester County?”

Officers who stopped by confirmed that, yes, this was indeed an alligator. They contacted the county’s experts in trapping animals.

“When police called, we really thought it was a joke at first,” said Josh Dreisacker, field manager of Westchester Wildlife Control.

Thus began the great gator hunt. On Tuesday evening, Dreisacker, his father – who owns the business – and their secretary put chicken in a trap in an attempt to lure the animal.

But a raccoon ate the bait.”The next day, we came back full force with a deep-sea fishing pole,” Dreisacker said.

The first attempt failed when the alligator ate the shiners used as bait and swam off. “He was able to take four of the fish right off the hook without being caught,” he said.

The second try, the gator got itself tangled in the fishing line. Success.

He thinks it was probably someone’s pet, since it didn’t seem too shy. He’s now trying to find it a home, perhaps another sanctuary down South.

Last year, someone left a crated gator outside the Mount Kisco Water Department. That was the 10th confirmed alligator discovery in Westchester County in the last 100 years.

 Jim Dreisacker, owner of Westchester Wildlife Control in Brewster, holds a small alligator Aug. 14, 2008 which they removed from a pond in Chappaqua. Assisting in it’s capture was his son and company field manager Josh, and assistant Abbie Atkins. (Stuart Bayer/The Journal News)

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