Alligator In Box Found With Dead Cats: Police Seize 40-Year-Old Pet-Eating Alligator

A live alligator in a box with two dead cats was discovered by authorities in a suburb of Los Angeles in a resident’s backyard. The 8-foot gator is believed to have been living at the home for as long as 40 years, according to animal officials.

Officers are asking Van Nuys neighbors to let them know if any small pets have gone missing the last four decades. The homeowners have had the alligator since it was a baby. Experts say the reptile is about 40-years-old, reports San Jose Mercury News. It’s a female alligator named Jaxson. She was seized on Monday after a neighbor reported spotting it. When officers went to the residence in question, the homeowner refused allowing them inside. Police obtained a search warrant and found the alligator in a box with two dead cat carcasses.

Jaxson has a new residence at the Los Angeles Zoo while an investigation by animal services officials is underway.

Laura Mattson says she’s taken care of the gator since her husband died two years ago. She tells CBS Local in L.A. that the alligator has been at their home since 1977. She claims to have neutered a fair number of feral cats at her home, but denies feeding any of them to the alligator found in the box. She says there was “no way” she would do that.

No children reside with Mattson, but other relatives live at the home where the alligator was in the box. Mattson’s brother, Ron Goreki, insists the suggestion that they take small pets and feed them to Jaxson is untrue.

“They’re basically saying we’re taking the animals and feeding them to the alligator. And that’s not true.”

Mattson says she’s tried finding a new home for the large creature and had even called the zoo, but they didn’t have enough room. The alligator was found in the backyard in a box with some debris over the top of it. Cmdr. Mark Salazar said it wasn’t easy to see and you had to know what to look for.

Police received a tip late last year about the 40-year-old alligator. They did a search of Mattson’s property, but didn’t find the alligator at that time. They planned on a follow-up visit in case the owner tried moving it. On Monday, authorities did a surprise visit and found the alligator in a box in the backyard.

If anyone in the area has lost any pets the last 40 years in that area, Animal Services requests you call them at 213-482-7455.

[Photo Courtesy of Laura Mattson via CBS Local]