Pet alligator found in Detroit home during wellness check

A wellness check in Detroit turned into something entirely different when police arrived at a home whose resident hadn't been seen or heard from in weeks.

Unfortunately, the homeowner was found dead inside the home, the city's general service department director said. No foul play was suspected - however, police found something else when they entered the residence.

"Two animals in the house and one being this alligator that was caged," said Crystal Perkins, the GSD director.

A 4-foot-long female alligator - not a sight that police stumble upon when they do wellness checks. But if that is the discovery, the next call to make is to Detroit Animal Care and Control - which is where the police went next.

In addition to the alligator, police also found a dog. Neither had eaten for weeks after their owner had died.

For some, having exotic animals can be a hobby. But even with some freedom, Detroit doesn't let people own just anything.

"Alligators specifically are rare, but we do come across Detroit residents harboring, owning, or having pets that are against city ordinance," said Perkins. "Once they grow, they grow out of your home, they become a danger not just to you but to others."

Often, when those pets do get too big, people tend to just release them into the wild. From there, they become a danger to neighbors and others.

The city named the alligator Izzy - who is now on her way to a new home.

She's being transferred to an Alligator Sanctuary in Athens, Michigan, which is near Battle Creek - a more appropriate home for a large reptile.