An emotional support alligator owner confirmed the worst after this bad situation

May 9, 2024

Taking emotional support animals everywhere has become all the rage.

But no one suspected how far one man could take it. 

And an emotional support alligator owner confirmed the worst after this bad situation. 

Georgia man has an emotional support alligator that became a social media star

The number of emotional support animals has been on the rise in recent years.

Pennsylvania resident Joie Henney obtained an emotional support alligator named Wally to help him deal with depression.

He got Wally when the alligator was 14 months old in Florida as a rescue.

Henney worked with alligators for 30 years and has experience rescuing the large reptiles.

Wally – now almost six feet long – goes on walks with a custom-made leash and has reportedly never tried to bite anyone.

“I’ve never met an alligator that will not bite you,” Henney told CBS Evening News. “You fool around the head like this (Joe puts his hand in Wally’s mouth), their instinct is to grab you [with their teeth] – but he does not do it.”

“You can reach in and rub his tongue, he refuses to close his mouth, but we don’t know why,” Henney added.

Last year, the pair went viral on social media when the alligator was denied entrance to a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game.

Wally got his own accounts on social media to track his adventures with Henney.

But everything took a turn for the worse when Henney and Wally took a vacation to Georgia.

Wally the emotional support alligator goes missing in Georgia

Henney said that Wally went missing when the pair took a vacation to Brunswick, Georgia in April.

He believes that the alligator was taken out of the enclosure that he sleeps in at night.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said a trapper caught an alligator in the Brunswick area the same day that Wally went missing and released it in an area swamp. 

But the agency had no way of determining if it was Wally.

Henney said that the odds of finding the alligator in the Swamp are “slim to none.”

“We just pray with other alligators present that Wally is OK,” Henney said on social media.

Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist David Mixon handled captive alligators for presentations.

He said that while they may seem peaceful, they’re still a wild animal.

“They’re unpredictable, and they’re often reactive to stimulus,” Mixon said. “There’s lots of videos and pictures where people handle gators, and they do it without getting hurt. But the more time you spend around them, the more likely you are to be injured.”

Colorado State University psychologist Lori Kogan said that in states where it’s legal to own an alligator they could be designated emotional support animals.

Emotional support animals aren’t required to undergo any training to get the designation.

“People can get very attached to a variety of animals,” Kogan said. “Can you get attached to a reptile? Can it bring you comfort? I would say yes. Me personally? No.”

Henney is holding out hope and searching the area in the hopes of finding Wally.

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