Jackie is definitely not your average pet. Jackie is a pet alligator. Really. And, she shares a very unique and unexpected bond with her owner, Randy Thomas and his wife Veronica.
The roughly five-foot long gator with stubby legs and a powerful tail, isn’t native to the Burgettstown, Pennsylvania town in which she lives. She was born and bred in the marshes and swamps of the south, but after coming to the Thomas’ home a decade ago, she’s enjoyed relaxed in a baby pool and chowing down on pork chops.
Randy told WPXI News of his exotic pet, “She likes being rubbed beneath her head or between her eyes.”
You can watch them lovingly interact in the video below.
Although some neighbors complained about his pet alligator, they can’t do much about it because under Pennsylvania state law, owning a pet alligator is totally legal.
An officer with the Washington Area Humane Society came to investigate and found no safety issues, which means Jackie likely will be permitted to live out the rest of her reptile days in Randy and Veronica’s Smith Township home.
Thomas said, “I told them, ‘I’m not breaking any laws or ordinances, but I’ll show you she is well taken care of.'”
Unlike the gators who attack people and their pets, Thomas insists that his alligator isn’t a threat to anyone.
“If I was going to get bit, she would have bit me a long time ago,” he explained.
Veronica said the couple purchased what they thought was a baby caiman – a smaller relative of the alligator – from a pet show. But when Jackie kept growing and growing, they learned within a year that she was actually an American alligator. They asked a zoo to take Jackie, she said, but the zoo refused. And here they are now.
“We did our damndest to find a good home, and we could not,” Randy said. “We’re not going to just toss her out like an old, rotten rag.