SCANDIA, Minn. (WCCO) — Officials with the Department of Natural Resources and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office say they believe two alligators were dumped into a Scandia lake.
DNR information officer Harlen Hienstra said their office was contacted after someone spotted an alligator in Goose Lake last weekend.
A team checked the lake earlier this week. According to the DNR, a 3-foot-long alligator was seen in the lake. Someone shot the animal, but it was not recovered.
The DNR thinks someone may have released the two animals into the water, and do not believe they traveled up to the lake on their own. They believe a man who lives near the lake was keeping two alligators and was notified recently by the city that they were not allowed.
The owner, identified as William St. Sauver, said his alligators were stolen from him and purposely put into the lake. He said he’s trying to find them before the DNR does. The DNR said their smaller size don’t make the gators much of a threat.
He said he was close a few nights ago.
“I had them in the net, but the net I had was too small so I had to go buy this new big one,” he said.
Until a few weeks ago St. Sauver lived, with his gators, at a farm with his father, Bill St. Sauver, which is across from Goose Lake.
Bill St. Sauver said someone must have stolen the gators about seven or eight weeks ago.
St. Sauver said he didn’t report the theft to police because he didn’t know what good that would do.
“I don’t have no serial numbers on them,” he said. “There’s not really much you can do about it.”
He said the alligators are accustomed to being around people.
“I hold ’em, I show ’em to people, let ’em pet ’em,” he said. “And then feed them, that’s about it.”
He said he bought them about three years ago but they’re not that big.
And yes, they have names — the two missing alligators are named Bonnie and Clyde.
He’s hoping he can find his missing pet before another one is shot by authorities.
Washington County officials, as well as the DNR team, said they will destroy the animal — or animals, if they find the gator that was shot. However, if the owner finds them first, he might be able to keep them if he purchased them before the ordinance went into place in the city banning exotic species.
Neighbor Carol Streitz was shocked when a boater approached her back deck saying he spotted a gator. She acted quick to calm her granddaughter’s nerves.
“I lied to her and told her they caught the one and took him to the Como Zoo,” she said.