No one said drug dealers were smart cookies: Alligators as guard dogs

Here is a way to explain why alligators are appearing more and more places they shouldn’t be.

Breaking Fad: Alligators becoming the new pit bulls for drug dealers, cops say – Washington Times.

Drug dealers, long associated with aggressive dogs like pit bulls, are of late opting for a more cold-blooded accomplice to protect their business interests: the alligator.

The scaly version of the guard dog isn’t showing up just in drug dens near its native Southern swamplands, police are finding the reptiles in raids from Oakland to Philadelphia.

Last month, during a raid in Baltimore, police found three small alligators while searching the apartment of a suspected dealer. That case was among a smattering of reports linking alligator ownership to drug dealers seeking to guard their stashes or simply send a message.

The curious phenomenon of drug dealers owning alligators could be faddish or coincidental, but it has some logic behind it, wildlife researchers say.

“The predominate way people think of alligators is as this fierce man-eating predator,” said Mark Barrow, chairman of Virginia Tech’s history department who is studying the cultural history of the American alligator. “I’m not terribly surprised that some folks may want to have these things to be cool.”

Call in the Gator Boys! Seriously, this is a shame. It’s not far fetched to think that people have this bright idea of a toothy guard. But it’s profoundly dumb (no one said criminals were that smart or moral). The animals suffer in this environment and are likely ill-treated because they need special care most people are not equiped to give. As the article notes, they are not loyal and can’t be trained very much. While pit bulls end up abandoned on the streets and pose a danger to the public, they end up in shelters by the hundreds in a very sad state of affairs. The reptiles will most certainly perish or be killed other than escape very far. Or they may be dumped where they could potentially pose a hazard to small pets and children. There is also a decent chance they will bite off the hand that feeds them.

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  3 comments for “No one said drug dealers were smart cookies: Alligators as guard dogs

  1. Peter Robinson
    December 22, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Dumb it may be, and probably hyped as the story only mentions the one case (after all, it seems unlikely to be widespread due to the sheer difficulty of capturing them and then the problem of the dealers getting at the stashes themselves), but perhaps not so odd in the context of the escalation of the drugs war. Like predator and prey, there is bound to be a sort of ‘evolution’ of methods in this war, which can only be the case while we have a ‘war on drugs’, and a lack of sensible changes to the laws that underpin the war and the trade.

    • Anthony
      December 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      I think it is just a way for them to have a cool pet. Most of the gators being found are scarcely more than four feet long. They are still dangerous but not by that much. Most of them probably get released just as they begin to become more of a problem. Furthermore, a gator who is not particularly hungry is not likely to attack a human being or anything else. A burglar only has to toss them some meat and can then grab the loot while the gators are occupied with food.

      Unfortunately, some pet gators and crocs get released into unsuitable habitat when they become too large too handle. There could be licensing issues that prevent some owners from taking them to animal control centers for fear of legal action.

  2. Brian
    December 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    On the up side, it might eliminate some drug dealers.

    On the not so up side, try living in a state that has them naturally, and read this article. *gulp*. they will be trying to walk them on leashes here. :(

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