Metro-East News

They brought an alligator home from Florida. And you can’t do that.

Conservation Officer Kaufman holds the 27-inch alligator taken from a Marseilles woman’s home on Friday.
Conservation Officer Kaufman holds the 27-inch alligator taken from a Marseilles woman’s home on Friday.

Conservation police and LaSalle County Animal Control officers seized a 27-inch long alligator from a Marseilles woman’s home Friday.

Sgt. Phil Wire said they went to the house after someone called in a tip that there was an illegally-housed alligator there.

“It was just a small alligator — so it wasn’t complicated,” he said of seizing the alligator for transport. “... You just tape up the mouth and pick it up.”

Wire said officers cited Kelli Prarie with possessing an alligator without a special-use permit and possessing an alligator that is not in an “escape-proof” enclosure. Both are Class A misdemeanors that carry a sentence range of up to one year in prison and up to $2,5000 in fines, Wire said.

In Illinois, it is illegal to breed, sell or offer to sell an alligator. Illinoisans can own alligators and other crocodilians with special use permits “only for bona fide educational programs, following an inspection and approval of the proposed facilities.”

They must participate in a minimum of six documented programs a year.

Wire said those who live out of state with a license to own alligators and are looking to travel to the state for educational purposes can apply for a 15-day permit.

Wire said Prarie acquired the alligator from a family member in Florida but that police are still looking into it.

The alligator will be turned over to a trained individual for rehabilitation before being taken to a sanctuary in the South.

Wire added that in the last 10 years, his agency has cited people three times for alligator possession in LaSalle County.

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