That was no alligator; that was someone's pet

| 15 Feb 2012 | 08:38

Warwick - There are few dull moments at the Warwick Valley Humane Society’s animal shelter but last Friday was a bit out of the ordinary. “On Friday, July 30, Warwick Police notified us that there was an alligator at 230 South Route 94 found by two workmen,” said Suzyn Barron, president of the Warwick Valley Humane Society. “The police were on their way to check it out and Animal Control was called to respond.” But local residents need not worry about nearby lakes, ponds and drainage ditches. The animal turned out not to be an alligator but a four-foot pet lizard. Animal Control Officer Dawn Woody figured as much and unsuccessfully tried calling a person who had recently reported missing a large lizard. Woody then responded to the location and as she was putting on animal handling gloves, one of the workers opened the cage a tad too early. A large hiss by the lizard caused the men to jump back, allowing it to escape. Woody, knowing this was just a lost pet, pursued the reptile through a paddock of donkey dung and caught up to the animal when it reached a fence and hesitated before plunging into a large pond. At that instant she instinctively grabbed the tail and holding the large, hissing and thrashing reptile away from her, made her way back to her truck. “When the owner was finally contacted,” said Barron. “We learned that it was a peach-throated 20-year-old monitor named 'Gweneviere.’” The monitor was happily reunited with the Aloia family, which includes two children, four dogs, two other lizards and three cats. Woody has been an animal control officer for nine years, so “this isn’t Dawn’s first foray into doing whatever it takes to save an animal but it is one she will well remember,” Barron said. “I commend her for a job well done.”

The Warwick Valley Humane Society rescues a variety of local birds and animals. All are given a fighting chance and most survive. The Society’s Wildlife Recovery Fund helps defray the costs of medical and special dietary needs of wildlife rescued by the Shelter’s animal control officers. According to Barron, the Wildlife Fund is low and any donation would be appreciated. Call 986-2473.