A Hamil­ton fam­ily got quite an un­usual vis­i­tor to their east-end home

A five-foot al­li­ga­tor set­tled in be­fore An­i­mal Con­trol cap­tured it.

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor mvan­don­gen@thes­pec.com 905-526-3241 | @Mat­tatthes­pec

City an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cers had to cor­ral a five-foot-long al­li­ga­tor Tues­day af­ter a sur­prised fam­ily found it in their east end back­yard.

Wal­ter Ertsinian said his two daugh­ters, 11 and 18, had just ex­ited a back­yard pool when they spot­ted the rogue rep­tile be­side the fam­ily’s Web­ster Road home around 5:30 p.m.

“I guess they stared at it for a while be­cause it was so still,” he said, adding they hud­dled to dis­cuss whether he might have bought a fake an­i­mal as a pool toy or gag. “Then it moved its head.”

Ertsinian — who was pre­par­ing to cel­e­brate his 25th an­niver­sary — called 911 about the gator and was told to “keep and eye on it but also not to get too close,” while po­lice called an­i­mal con­trol.

In the mean­time, Ertsinian tried to build a bar­rier out of lum­ber and a kid-sized pic­nic ta­ble to dis­cour­age the rep­tile from bolt­ing. He said his fam­ily con­sid­ers the ex­pe­ri­ence “mem­o­rable” rather than scary.

An an­i­mal ser­vices of­fi­cer ar­rived by 6:30 p.m. and cheer­fully cor­ralled the gator with the help of a long-han­dled snare. “He (the al­li­ga­tor) didn’t like that too much and start­ing hiss­ing quite a bit,” said Ertsinian, who praised the “ef­fi­cient” op­er­a­tion.

An­i­mal ser­vices staff posted pho­tos — and video taken by Ertsinian — of the gator-whis­per­ing ad­ven­ture of “Of­fi­cer Matt,” who can be seen care­fully ma­noeu­vring the rep­tile at pole dis­tance.

An­i­mal ser­vices didn’t know Wed­nes­day how the im­pres­sively toothy rep­tile ended up out­side the home. But the Face­book post notes the species is banned un­der Hamil­ton’s an­i­mal con­trol by­law.

Ertsinian fig­ures a by­law-leery pet owner dumped the crea­ture, but added the gator could have trav­elled a long way to his back­yard given the nearby rail cor­ri­dor and es­carp­ment.

“I even asked my neigh­bour, hey, do you have an al­li­ga­tor as a pet?”

he said with a chuckle. “She said, ‘yeah, I have three.’

“Then I said, wow, re­ally? And she said, ‘yeah, no.’”

THE CITY OF HAMIL­TON

An Al­li­ga­tor was cap­tured by an­i­mal con­trol out­side an east end home.

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