Philadelphia Animal Control issues warning about releasing animals after caiman found in FDR Park

Animal control authorities in Philadelphia are warning residents about the dangers of abandoning animals & pets after a caiman was discovered in a local park. 

According to the Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly), police called the agency on Sunday morning around 10:30 a.m. to report the reptile, which was abandoned in FDR Park. 

Lisa Cephas told FOX 29 she was on her normal Sunday morning when she saw Issac Peyton, a fisherman from Delaware County, reel in the 3-foot reptile. A video posted to social media shows Peyton holding the caiman until Philadelphia police arrived and used their crime scene tape to safely close its mouth.

"What we thought was an alligator bit his bait and he kind of reeled it in," Cephas told FOX 29. "The first reaction was shock because and it was fear because he had 2 small children with him."

Agency officials were able to recover the reptile from the park with no injuries. 

"If you are struggling to keep your pet, or have decided that having an animal who will grow to be 5 feet long, live up to 40 years, and requires a minimum small studio apartment that is half water (kept at a minimum of 70 degrees) was not the wisest decision you made, please DO NOT simply release them," ACCT Philly wrote on Facebook. "If you have an animal you can no longer keep, including caimans or any other animal that is extremely difficult to humanely house, please reach out to us instead of just letting them go." 

ACCT Philly is reminding Philadelphia residents that it is illegal to abandon animals and to be aware of other state laws regarding animals

The agency says it takes in about 1,000 animals a year that are not considered domestic pets. 

In addition to the reminder, the agency discussed the importance of not releasing exotic animals such as caimans into the wild in Philadelphia because they are not equipped for the Pennsylvania ecosystem. 

The Caiman, dubbed the name Cay Man, is with ACCT Philly officials awaiting placement at a rescue center.