The alligator, dubbed CockadoodleQ, died just 12 hours after being rescued. WABC-TV reported that it was likely an illegal pet that was released once it got too big for the owner to take care of.
“We have no knowledge of the conditions CockadoodleQ had lived in prior to his arrival that contributed to his death,” the ACC said in a statement. “Exotic animals such as alligators are illegal to have as pets in New York City.”
Witnesses told WABC that they believed the alligator could have been dropped off, or it could have come from the sewer or river. The alligator was found 50 feet from the Harlem River.
“He was pretty feisty,” Deputy Inspector Chris Morello told the New York Daily News.
Police said they believed the alligator was looking for water when they found it crossing the street.
“Some people were very surprised. They’ve never seen an alligator, never seen a reptile of that size let alone here in the city street,” Eddie Perez, a witness, told WABC.
An animal rescuer told the New York Daily News that the alligator appeared to have been one- or two-years-old.
Last week police rescued nine boa constrictors and an alligator from a Brooklyn residence, resulting in one arrest.
WABC reported that New York City’s health codes prohibit people from owning alligators as pets.