Pennsylvania man bemoans loss of emotional support alligator | WORLD
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Pennsylvania man bemoans loss of emotional support alligator

Joie Henney hugging his emotional support alligator, Wally The Philadelphia Inquirer via Associated Press/Photo by Heather Khalifa

Pennsylvania man bemoans loss of emotional support alligator

The beloved, internet-famous alligator named Wally went missing early Sunday morning while visiting the southern Georgia coast. His owner, Joie Henney, has claimed Wally helped with his depression, prompting him to register the gator as an emotional support animal. Henney treated the five-and-a-half-foot reptile like a dog and regularly walked him with a harness and leash. Photos show Henney and others holding and hugging Wally, who seemed unusually docile. Henney told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2019 that he never tried to bite anyone.

How was the gator lost? A prankster stole Wally from his pen and dropped him in someone’s yard for a scare, according to the Wallygator Facebook page. A trapper was hired to relocate Wally, who was then released at an unknown location on private property, according to social media.

How is the search? Searchers have been unable to get even an approximate location of where Wally was released, according to a Facebook update. The Wallygator page asked thousands of followers to petition Georgia DNR Commissioner Walter Rabon and other politicians for search efforts. Wally’s family has also launched a GoFundMe campaign to finance search efforts.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, listen to a report on an alligator that helped a golfer during a tournament.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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