KENNETT, MO (KFVS) - Kennett police are trying to stop an alligator outbreak before it happens. That's right, alligators.
Almost two years ago, a man showed up in Kennett selling reptiles. The man sold about 50 alligators before law enforcement got him out of town.
Now, those gators are getting older, and Tina Petix, the Kennett Humane Officer is trying to collect them before people start turning the animals loose.
Petix says the reptiles are illegal in the city, but if you have one and you turn it over - you will not be charged with a crime.
Officers just want the animals out of town before something tragic happens to someone.
"They're not pets," said Petix. "No matter how people think I've had them, you know they're cute this is my pet, they're not your pet, they're not a pet."
Petix they don't know exactly how many alligators are in the city, but guess it can be up to 50 since, that's how many the alligator salesman is suspected to have sold.
"We got enough problems as it is, and alligators are tough old beasts and they're going to live along time, I really don't think we need to encourage the situation," said Kennett resident John Braswell.
He says he doesn't want the reptiles as neighbors.
"Who wants to see alligators grow in our ditch our here, and I think that's a very feasible situation," said Braswell.
"A 3 foot alligator is enough to snap your arm off," said Petix.
Petix says even though people have been keeping the animals as pets, they can be very dangerous to kids, adults, and other animals.
"All we want to do is get them up, get them out of the streets, off the streets, get them back to their natural habitat," said Petix.
"Pets are wild animals, even though they're pets," said Braswell.
Braswell says he's glad he doesn't know anyone who owns an alligator.
"The neighbors I have, are going to have more sense than that," sad Braswell.
But if someone in the neighborhood saw one,
"Then I think we would have the whole neighborhood bringing out their whatever they would use to tame that alligator," said Braswell.