Local News

Neighbor Nabs Unwanted Gator for Friend

Posted April 9, 2007 8:51 p.m. EDT

— Donald Jones thought his wife was joking when she rushed into their house recently and told him about an alligator in the driveway.

“She said, ‘You need to go out and check him right now.’ So I come out and there he was,” Donald said. “[It] kind of upset me a little bit ... I was scared, to tell you the truth.”

The five-foot gator, nicknamed Oswald, was later taken to a kennel at the Johnston County Animal Shelter. But how the animal got there is another story.

After heading outside to see the gator, Donald and his wife called neighbor Frank Howell for help.

“[Mrs. Jones] told me she needed some help. There was an alligator in her yard,” Howell said. “I asked my son, ‘What did she say? An alligator?’”

No one in the group had ever been this close to a gator, but Howell knew just what to do. He grabbed a homemade snare, some duct tape and another friend.

“Never caught an alligator before. I've caught just about everything else,” he said.

Digital pictures show the big round up, including Donald who stayed in the background on the phone.

“That's the difference between me and [Howell]. I was scared of [the gator]. I was calling for help,” Donald said.

After Frank posed for a few pictures, Oswald the gator was carted off to the animal shelter where he stayed in a cage next to dogs.

Animal Control officials say this is the first time they've had an alligator in the shelter. A state biologist will pick up Oswald and release him along the coast.