Concrete evidence! Police shoot dangerous looking alligator, only to find it's a lawn ornament
Last updated at 10:59 PM on 2nd June 2011
They don't get many alligators in the suburbs of land-locked Kansas City, but if and when they do the local police like to think they can handle it.
Officers responding to a rare sighting in the suburb of Independence, Missouri, left nothing to chance.
Seeing the alligator's head lurking menacingly in the weeds leading down to a pond they fired off one shot with perfect precision.
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Head of the beast: The alligator that police fired at is a life-sized lawn ornament
Noting that the beast hadn't moved, they fired again.
When they saw the bullet bounce off the gator's head they realised that they were tackling a concrete lawn ornament.
A Independence police spokesman said, in defence of the officers, it was growing dark when the incident occurred.
The drama began when a neighbour who had not spotted the fake gator before called 911 to report that his children spotted the monster while they were playing in some nearby woods.
Realistic: The alligator in Rick Sheridan's back yard that caused all the commotion
Police consulted with a conservation agent, who told them to kill the gator if they felt it posed a danger.
Police spokesman Tom Gentry said three officers went to the scene, with one officer firing twice.
Mr Gentry said: 'It didn't move. They inched up closer and closer and discovered it was a mock-up of a real alligator made to look like it was real.'
Easy mistake to make: Lurking in the weeds, a giant lawn ornament
He added that it was partially submerged in the weeds, which didn't help matters.
Rick Sheridan, the property owner, told police that the gator was meant to keep people off his lawn, Mr Gentry said.
Officers told him a no-trespassing sign would have been wiser.
'Now he'll have to patch up his alligator,' Gentry added.
Conservation agent Derek Cole said the department has received calls in the past about alligators that had been set free in populated areas, so there was no reason to believe the Saturday sighting wasn't valid.
The real thing: an alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) that is not a lawn ornament
'The department doesn't get involved in something like that,' Mr Cole said.
'They asked if they could go ahead and dispatch it if it was a danger, and I said there's a kill shot on alligators, a small kill shot on the head. I said if they can get a shot like that, go ahead.'
The drama mirrors an incident in the UK last month, when reports of a white tiger in a field prompted a police alert.
A cricket match was interrupted, golfers were escorted from a course in the area following the sighting at Hedge End in Hampshire, BBC News reported.
Police drafted in zoo staff with tranquilizer guns, and a police helicopter from another county was also brought in to investigate.
However, a Hampshire Constabulary spokesman told the BBC that it became 'obvious it was a stuffed life-size toy' when the downdraft from the chopper just blew it over.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1393685/Police-shoot-gator-twice-realize-fake.html#ixzz1OBkJvGU2