Watch CBS News

More Than 30 Exotic Animals, Dead And Alive, Confiscated From Home Of Man Who Claims To Own Alligator Captured By Police

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Police and animal welfare workers removed several exotic animals from a local man's home Tuesday afternoon.

That man owns the alligator that someone found wandering around in Beechview on June 6.

Pittsburgh Police and animal care and control officers removed more than a half a dozen exotic animals from the Beechview home of Mark McGowan who owns the five-foot-long alligator named Chomp that escaped from his house last week.


"In total 32 animals have been removed from the house," said Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Public Information Officer Chris Togneri. "Three alligators, one had a bloody neck wound, one Burmese python, two iguanas, one rattlesnake, one mild lizard, two small iguanas and four hairless rats."


That is only a few of the animals removed. After a search warrant was issued and officials went inside the house, they found the animals were living in poor conditions.

According to police, the following animals were removed from the home.

  • 3 alligators
  • 1 Burmese Python
  • 1 Granite Burmese Python
  • 1 Rattlesnake
  • 2 Green Iguanas
  • 2 small iguanas
  • 1 Nile Monitor Lizard
  • 4 Hairless rats
  • 4 Quails
  • 5 Yellow-Bellied Slider turtles (one dead turtle in an aquarium)
  • 6 Rabbits (including five pregnant rabbits)
  • 2 Guinea pigs

The lead reptile keeper at the Pittsburgh Zoo also examined the animals.

Police officials say that there were several dead animals inside the residence as well.

"There were multiple dead animals and reptiles in the house," said Togneri. "Some in crates, some in containers, some in the freezer."

Neighbors were sitting on their front porches Tuesday afternoon watching as the reptiles were removed. Neighbors say they were aware that the animals were inside the house, but not to this extent.

"I don't think the animals should be where other people life side-by-side," said neighbor Kit Lewis.

In the meantime, McGowan signed a release form but he is angry at the situation. The owner of the animals says he is being harassed and will fight to get the animals back.

"This is terrible," said McGowan. "I'm being attacked. I am being harassed."

He says that the police came pounding on his door.

"They were screaming, they were screaming 'search warrant, search warrant,' pounding on it like the door was going to break in," said McGowan.

As for the other two alligators captured in the Pittsburgh area, McGowan says he does not know anything about them. The alligators were taken to Cape May Zoo in New Jersey where they will be kept until making a trip to Florida.

City officials in Pittsburgh say that some type of legislation is in the works to establish rules for exotic pets in the city.

""You know I can understand the occasional alligator once every decade, but three times in a month is a little ridiculous," said Mayor Bill Peduto.

That reaction from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto when KDKA asked him about the three incidents during which alligators were discovered in or near city residences. He said Councilwoman Darlene Harris wants to work on some type of legislation that would establish rules and regulations for exotic pets.


Peduto posed the question, "Should there be limitations on the type of pets within the city?"

He said the answer is, Yes.

"We also have ordinances which limits farm animals and what kind of farm animals you can have in the city."

Right now, there are no rules against owing alligators as pets.

McGowan says he will keep fighting until he gets every animal and reptile back.

"Oh, I'm not giving up. I'm going to get my animals back, Chomp and every single animal they stole from me for no reason," said McGowan.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.