(WGHP) — An alligator on a leash gave people at LOVE Park in Philadelphia a surprise over the weekend.
According to the Philly Voice, the alligator is an emotional-support animal named Wally who was adopted by reptile enthusiast Joie Henney.
Wally is currently a frontrunner for America’s Favorite Pet.
“We were just walking by LOVE Park and saw this kid playing with an alligator in the fountain,” Britt Miller told Philly Voice. “Of course, there was a ton of people around taking pictures. The girl (who had the alligator) seemed to be with her family, who were sitting off to the side. They were super friendly. People were picking up the alligator, petting it, all sorts of stuff.”
Henney spoke with the Washington Post about Wally’s upbringing. He rescued Wally, along with two other gators, from Florida when Wally was around 15 months old. He kept Wally due to his laid-back disposition, and a doctor recommended registering him as an emotional support animal as Henney was undergoing cancer treatment.
Wildlife experts stress that alligators do not make good pets and are difficult to care for. Alligators have been essentially unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, after all!
Wally enjoys cheesy popcorn, and people in the area enjoy seeing him out.
The folks at a retirement community in York have gotten the chance to visit with Wally several times, and he’s visiting for Steve Irwin Day in November too, according to the Washington Post.
2022 is the first year that America’s Favorite Pet is open to more than dogs and cats. Voting ends on Oct. 27 and the winning pet will receive $10,000.
$10,000 could buy Wally a lot of cheesy popcorn!
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