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8-Foot Alligator May Have Been Eating Neighborhood Pets For Decades

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An alligator found in the backyard of a Van Nuys home on Monday may have been the culprit of about 40 years of local neighborhood pet deaths.Department of Animal Services officers, working off a tip, served a warrant to find and seize an 8-foot, about 40-year old alligator in a home on the 13200 block of Sylvan Street. In the backyard, officers found the alligator inside a covered box along with two dead cats. The cats have been kept as evidence, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Officials knew about the alligator late last year, but a search turned nothing up then. On Monday officers were initially denied entry to conduct a search by the homeowner, so they returned with a warrant. Staff from the L.A. Zoo who specialize in large reptiles aided in the capture and transport of the animal.

It is illegal to own an alligator without a permit, and an investigation is currently being conducted by Animal Services. If anyone has information or may have lost a small pet in the neighborhood in the last 40 years, they are being asked to reach Commander Mark Salazar at (213) 482-7455 or mark.salazar@lacity.org.

Related: Rancho Cucamonga Man Wants His Pet Alligator 'Chopper' Back