LISTEN LIVE

Florida Denies Permit For Lakeland Woman To Keep Pet Gator

Apr 4, 2016

The Lakeland woman who gained national attention for her pet alligator may be losing her fight to keep him.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has denied Mary Thorn's request to keep Rambo,  her 6-foot-long gator, saying it would be irresponsible to let her keep the "growing gator" without meeting the state's land requirements. 

But her lawyer Spencer Sheehan said that requirement wouldn’t serve a purpose for Rambo, since he’s mostly indoors because of a sensitivity to sun exposure.

“I see this as a case where an administrative agency one is applying an all-purpose rule for I guess a situation that may not warrant it, and Mary has brought to my attention certain legal issues that may or may not have been presented to the FWC,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan also questioned why Thorn wasn’t grandfathered in since the land requirement came into effect after she got Rambo.

State wildlife officials say photos of Rambo being shared on social media, and by news outlets, show his owner isn’t following safety guidelines for public contact with alligators.

FWC said it will work with Thorn to place the alligator in a licensed facility or “any other lawful solutions.”