Albert the Alligator has a new home – in Texas

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A 750-pound pet alligator seized from a Hamburg homeowner in March has been relocated to an authorized alligator rehabilitation facility in Texas.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said it arranged for Albert the Alligator to be cared for at a facility called Gator Country in Beaumont, Texas, about 70 miles east of Houston.

“The move was scheduled only after the alligator was cleared by a veterinarian and demonstrated a substantial health improvement following weeks of medical care, an appropriate diet, access to necessary UV light, and other living conditions conducive to its recovery,” the DEC said in a statement.

Tony Cavallaro told News 4 in March that he had owned Albert for more than 30 years before DEC officers showed up at his house in March and took away the 11-foot reptile. He said he has treated the gator like a child and even put an addition onto the back of his house to make a room for Albert, fit with an inground pool.

The DEC said Cavallaro’s permit to own an alligator expired in 2021.

According to the DEC, possession of animals designated as dangerous, including alligators, is prohibited by New York State except under license from the DEC. A spokesperson said Cavallaro failed to meet specific safety conditions and failed to ensure the alligator did not come in contact with humans and did not pose a threat to humans or the animal.

Cavallaro’s friends and others in the community have rallied behind efforts to return Albert to his Hamburg habitat. Their petition attracted more than 150,000 signatures as the story has garnered national attention. Cavallaro has retained a lawyer to assist in the matter.

📅 Timeline in the Albert the Alligator story
March 15: Hamburg man fighting to bring gator home after reptile seized by DEC
March 25: Amid national attention, Gator expert weighs in on Hamburg’s ‘Albert the Alligator’
April 17: DEC: Info on Albert the alligator not being released until conclusion of investigation
April 19: Documents shed more light on DEC’s seizure of Albert the alligator in Hamburg

The DEC said Albert received an extensive examination and initial rehabilitation under licensed veterinary care in Massachusetts after being seized. Albert suffers from blindness and a spinal condition, according to the DEC.

“The alligator arrives (Wednesday) at the new location and will be housed in a separate enclosure to ensure it continues to receive specialized care consistent with ongoing physical maladies including blindness and spinal conditions from decades of inadequate treatment and care,” the DEC said in its statement. “The location was selected after an evaluation of local and national facilities able and willing to accept an alligator with these specific and significant medical needs. DEC will continue to work closely with the facility monitoring the alligator’s health and wellbeing.”

The DEC did not immediately know how permanent Albert’s stay at Gator Country will be.

“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” Cavallaro told News 4 in April. “I break down several times a day. Anger, because they won’t answer us with nothing. That’s what caused this whole problem to begin with is them being negligent to answer any questions.”

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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as the Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook, Twitter and Threads. See more of his work here.

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