An abused pet alligator suggestively named "Right Boot" saw sunlight for probably the first time in its life after being starved and trapped in an Ohio basement for 15 years, authorities said Tuesday.
The 15-year-old, seven-foot-long gator was also routinely tormented by teenagers at the owner's home in Huber Heights near Dayton, which is in southwestern Ohio.
Although the Associated Press said rumors about a pet alligator had been circulating around the community, authorities were actually tipped off by a Facebook video that showed the creature being teased.
The Humane Society of Greater Dayton went to the home in question and removed the malnourished alligator on Sunday, said AP, citing cruelty investigator Sheila Marquis as saying the homeowner and/or troublemaking youths may get slapped with animal cruelty charges in coming days.
Apparently, animal rescue people weren't that surprised to find an alligator hidden in an Ohio home.
"It happens more often then we'd like to see it happen," Humane Society of Greater Dayton head Brian Weltge told Ohio's WDTN.
The alligator, believed male, went to Columbus for medical appraisal on Monday and then goes to Cincinnati's Arrowhead Reptile Rescue before heading to an animal refuge in Florida, Tim Harrison of Outreach For Animals told local press.
A healthy 15-year-old alligator should weigh over 200 pounds and be nine to 10 feet long, Harrison told reporters, whereas this one weighed only 130 pounds and was about seven feet long.
“It was basically a prisoner,” Harrison said, but voiced optimism for its recovery. "Once it’s out in the sun for about a year or so, it will really perk up," he later said.
The identity of the man who owned the alligator has not been made public.
Watch a video report on it here: