CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Residents in Cape Girardeau, Missouri claim to have made a surprise catch.
William Burton, Jr. and Sierra Burton say they caught an alligator in their front yard on Giboney Street.
William Burton, Jr. said he walked outside of the house and saw something under a car.
He said he thought it was a dog, but then realized it was an alligator. He said he threw a blanket over the gator and jumped on top of it to catch it.
"I seen his head peeking out from underneath the tire. I thought it was like a dog at first. I went out there and got a little closer and he started hissing at me," Burton said. "He started crawling out after I got after him," Burton said. "Over by that lawnmower, I grabbed him by his tail. Which, I watch 'Gator Boys,' so I threw that blanket over his eyes and hurried up and reached down and grabbed his mouth."
Burton said he released it in a field across the street.
According to Matt Boyer, wildlife regional supervisor, Burton did call them but they weren't immediately available. He said returned calls went unanswered.
Boyer believes this was probably an alligator that came from captivity because they aren't typically found in this area. They don't usually survive this far north because they can't handle the cold winters. He said there have been cases where people keep alligators, they get too big and then people let them go.
Conservation agents believe the gator was being kept as a pet by Burton's neighbor.
They say Burton told the conservation department his neighbors told him after seeing the pictures on Facebook that they'd recently released the animal.
That's something wildlife officials say is a big "no-no."