Madisonville neighbor finds 4-foot gator in backyard
"Gator Hater" week is sure to bring Florida fans to East Tennessee, but a Monroe County neighbor likely didn't expect a 4-foot alligator in their backyard.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to a Madisonville residence Tuesday evening where they found the 4-foot animal.
"First thing that goes through anyone's mind, 'An alligator in Tennessee?', it's something you gotta see," said Billy Littleton who is a Monroe County deputy sheriff.
TWRA also responded to the scene where they captured the animal and brought it to the Chattanooga Zoo. The Sheriff's Office said no one was hurt.
"Went around the corner and several people were standing next to an alligator," said Littleton. "First thing get everyone back, keep a safe distance."
Officers said they believe the animal was released by a private party because it was no where near water.
This type of animal is considered a Class 1 species, which is considered illegal for personal possession.
In a post on Facebook, officials said, "If you happen to find an alligator or any other type of wild animal in your backyard, please do what the caller did. Back away, go to a safe area, and call 911."
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Zoo Knoxville workers said alligators can be dangerous.
"They are a wild animal and they get large enough to harm and/or kill people," said Michael Ogle, who works at Zoo Knoxville. "There's no doubt about that."