Alligator released into Kansas lake was victim of gunshot, expected to recover

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ATCHISON, Kan. -- Atchison County authorities are trying to find out who released an alligator into the Atchison County Lake, while another person has been ordered to appear in court for shooting the animal in the head.

According to the Sheriff's Office, on Saturday, Aug. 3, deputies were called out to the lake and found an alligator, approximately three feet long.

"This is our first alligator. We've experienced some tigers and other cat animals this year, but as for alligators this is the first," said Sheriff Jack Laurie.

They monitored the alligator throughout the weekend and on Monday morning they gathered the tools and traps they needed to capture it. Using a fisherman's net, they placed it into a kennel and took it to the Atchison County Humane Society, where they discovered a bullet hole in front of the eyes on the alligator's snout.

"The only thing was it had a gunshot wound to the head. I called back the sheriff's department and he said that had happened from the caretaker of the property at the lake. Looks like it was shot it with a 22 through its mouth all the way through," said  Dana Savorelli, who operates Monkey Island Rescue.

The person who shot the alligator has cooperated with authorities and has been issued a summons to appear in court for Cruelty to Animals.

Investigators said they have some leads on the former owner, who may have been the one to release the alligator into the lake. For now, the gator has a home with Savorelli.

"We'll keep it around for a while unless we find a more suitable sanctuary in a warmer climate. Otherwise it will be here and we will have to pull it out of the pond and bring it inside for the winter," said Savorelli.

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