Florida Officials Ban ‘Gator Parties’ That Put Kids in Swimming Pool with Wild Reptiles
Posted Oct 5, 2012 12:00 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
Their jaws are taped shut and they are less than 4 feet long. But nonetheless they are alligators, with sharp teeth and tails that can do a lot of damage if they start whipping them around.
So officials at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have put the kibosh on "gator parties" in which children and adults have a chance to mingle, under an alligator handler's supervision, with the wild reptiles in swimming pools, reports the St. Petersburg Times.
The administrative ban on allowing alligators to swim in residential pools follows widespread news reports about participation by Alligator Attraction in the parties. Although there apparently have been no complaints about problems occurring at any of the gator parties in which the Madeira Beach-based company has been involved, at least 10 complaints about the concept were made to the commission.
The article indicates that it may still be possible to host gator parties, if a trained handler holds the animal or has it on leash.
Bob Barrett, who owns Alligator Attraction, says it puts safety first and will comply with all commission directives, the newspaper reports.