'He's like family to everybody': Community rallies around Hamburg man after alligator was seized from his home | 16 March 2024 | It has been an emotional week for Tony Cavallaro of Hamburg. On Wednesday, the DEC seized his alligator, Albert. Cavallaro got Albert from a reptile show in 1990 when he was a baby and calls him a son. Now thousands have signed a petition to bring the 11-foot, 800-pound gator home. The Hamburg resident said on Wednesday the DEC swarmed his home, with the help of police and the SPCA Serving Erie County, took his phone out of his hand, and would not let him say goodbye to Albert. "It was really upsetting how it was handled," said next-door neighbor Laura Lautner. "They loaded Albert on the back of a cargo van, and just laid him there." Cavallaro previously had a permit for Albert, but it expired in 2021 and was not renewed. However, Cavallaro said he tried to renew it with the DEC. "[DEC] would not clarify, they would not answer, this is on them," said Cavallaro. "I should be grandfathered in."

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