June 6, 2012 -- A wounded alligator and a pit bull were found abandoned in a New Bedford, Mass., apartment and police are looking for the owner who left the critters behind.
New Bedford Animal Control officers got a call on Tuesday from a landlord and a neighboring tenant. When they entered the second-floor apartment at 31 Ashley St., they found a 4-foot-long, 25-pound alligator with stab wounds to its upper left leg.
The gator was separated only by a baby gate from a pit bull that had not eaten or had any water in days.
The apartment's former tenant, Richard Fumo, 30, will be charged with possession of an alligator and two counts of animal cruelty, according to Animal Control Director Emanuel Maciel.
"The place was in shambles - there was feces all over the room, urine, clothes all over the place," Maciel said.
Maciel said Fumo moved to Florida several days ago and has not yet been reached by authorities.
Along with New Bedford Animal Control, the state environmental police and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) are investigating the incident.
The alligator was the largest Maciel had come across in his 22-year career, he said. While alligator possession is legal in neighboring Rhode Island, it is illegal under Massachusetts law.
"Sometimes we see a gator that's a foot or foot and a half," Maciel said. "But this was shocking."
Maciel estimated that the alligator, which will be treated for its wounds by a veterinarian, is three to four years old, and the pit bull is two to three years old.
The alligator is being treated for its wounds at New England Reptile and Raptor in Taunton, Mass., while the pit bull was taken to Forever Paws Animal Shelter in Fall River, Mass.