Ask Trooper Rob: No Michigan laws regulate alligator ownershipPublished 5:37pm Friday, February 3, 2012
Q: I have a question concerning ownership of exotic animals. Is it illegal for someone to own an American alligator? Thank you — Nikki, an Ionia Sentinel Standard reader.
A: Nikki, thanks for the tough question. It took a thorough investigation to figure this one out. With help from Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, I discovered the answer for you.
First, you should check with local city, township or county ordinances to verify you can have one in those areas. The state of Michigan (and I can only answer for Michigan, not other states) does not regulate any ownership on animals not considered native to Michigan.
A cougar or bear, for instance, is a native (it is believed that cougars did and still do roam our great state) of Michigan; therefore can be regulated under the Large Carnivore Act. The only law we can concern ourselves with in Michigan regarding an American alligator is that it was legally obtained under federal laws.
The conservation officer I spoke with wanted to remind readers that these exotic pets may look cute and docile when young, but they do grow up and have animal instincts. Be careful on choices made concerning these pets.
Trooper accidentally killed
On Dec. 4, 1922, Tpr. William F. Martz enlisted in the Michigan State Police and was assigned to the Paw Paw Post. On the morning of March 10, 1925, at age 25, Martz and his partner, Tpr. George Stockhill, were guarding a gang of bank robbers at the Berrien County jail. The gang had been captured after a bank robbery at the Millsburg Savings Bank near Benton Harbor on Feb. 25, 1925.
The sheriff, Fred Frantz, requested help from the nearest MSP Post, which at the time was Paw Paw. Fearing a lynch mob, he requested extra security until court time. Deputies and troopers provided round the clock security at the jail and outside to control the crowds.
About 8 a.m., after a long, uneventful shift, Tpr. Stockhill removed his .44-40 caliber service revolver from its holster to clean and inspect the gun. Apparently, he accidently pulled the trigger and the gun discharged, striking Martz in the groin area.
Martz was expected to recover completely following an emergency surgery, however, suffered complications from the gunshot wound and died March 12, 1925.
Tpr. Martz is buried in Detroit and was the fifth trooper to die in the line of duty.
Email your questions to TrooperRob53@Yahoo.Com.
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