Fla. police called to redirect lost alligator out of neighborhood
Officers 'wooshed' the animal back into the water with a stick while it hissed at them
Kathy Leigh Berkowitz
DAVENPORT, Fla. — It's hard to imagine a Florida alligator could get so much attention, but a 5'-foot gator that took a stroll on Providence neighborhood sidewalks prompted residents to call the Davenport Police Department for help.
The past few years, the gator has been a frequent stroller, said resident Hana Kapustova, but when a neighbor installed a new fence on their property, the gator became, well, confused.
Neighbors in the area worried about their small dogs, not wanting them to become a "little snack," she said.
"It was a funny Saturday morning, I tell you," said Kapustova, whose husband, Antonio Diehs, was busy taking photos of the gator as it comfortably walked around the patio at their front door, plopping down for some sun on their sidewalk.
Sympathetic to the gator, she said, "poor thing, he was trapped because he wanted to go back to his lake and he couldn't."
Davenport police officer Jason Gainous and a Polk County Sheriff's Office deputy responded to the call from the Providence housing development by U.S. 17/92 and Ronald Reagan Parkway.
"Animal calls are the fun calls," Gainous said.
The officers gently "wooshed" the gator back to the lake with a stick, all the while it hissed at them.
Gainous admitted this was his first gator call.
"Everybody is so scared of these things," he said, noting it is true they have a pretty good bite on them.
The officers took a video and photos of the occasion as they corralled the gator with fence gates to help direct him back to the water.
"It was actually kind of humorous," Gainous said.
Davenport Police posted on their Facebook page, "Thank you Officer Gainous for helping this lost citizen find his way back to his pond."
- Bizarre Beat