Wally the Emotional Support Alligator Is Missing, His Owner Says the Pet Was Taken and Released

Wally's owner, Joie Henney, said that the alligator was stolen from his pen on April 21 and eventually released into a large swamp in Georgia

<p>Wallygator/Facebook</p> Wally the emotional support alligator


Wally the emotional support alligator

Where is Wally the alligator?

That's what his owner, Joie Henney, is asking. He announced on social media on April 27 that his viral emotional support animal, known for helping kids with disabilities and attending Philadelphia sporting events, had gone missing.

Henney shared in a post that he and his reptile pet, dubbed Wally or Wallygator, were recently visiting friends in Brunswick, Georgia. The owner claimed on Facebook that on April 21, while he was away from the residence where he was staying in Georgia, Wally was "taken" from his pen between "4:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m." Henney added that initial "walking searches" for Wally didn't turn up the creature.

In a follow-up post, Henney alleged that the person who stole Wallygator was someone "who likes to drop alligators off into someone's yard to terrorize them" and that someone else "discovered" Wally near their home and called the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR). According to Henney's post, the agency sent a trapper in response to the call, and the trapper captured Wally and "dropped him off in a swamp with about 20 other alligators that same day."

"The swamp is very large, and the trapper said the chances of them finding Wally is slim to none," Henney added in his post. "We just pray with other alligators present that Wally is ok."

Henney waited to file a police report about the pet theft because he didn't have the proper permit for Wally during their travels to Georgia, according to an ABC7 Chicago report.

Related: 450-lb. Gator Living Outside Coca-Cola Factory Moved and Put on Diet

Since Wally's disappearance, Henney has organized search parties to scour the swamp for Wally and set up a GoFundMe — which has raised about $6,000 as of May 1 — to help pay for search expenses and potential "veterinary costs" for Wally if he is found.

<p>Gritty/ Instagram</p> Philadelphia Flyer mascot Gritty with Wally the emotional support alligator in Nov. 2023

Gritty/ Instagram

Philadelphia Flyer mascot Gritty with Wally the emotional support alligator in Nov. 2023

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Henney noted that he and others have called the DNR to get the location in the swamp where Wally was released so search efforts can be focused there. "Even the original swamp we were told is so large it would take months with an army to search," an April 29 Facebook post from Henney said.

The owner shared that Wally would likely not be able to survive on his own in the wild, according to USA Today.

Related: Nebraska Zoo Removes 70 Coins from Alligator's Stomach, Asks Visitors Not to Toss Money into Water

Wally and Henney have amassed over 100,000 followers on TikTok and over 34,000 followers on Instagram. Wally previously made headlines in November 2023 when he and the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, Gritty, took pictures together during a Flyers game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

<p>Gritty/ Instagram</p> Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty pets Wally the emotional support alligator

Gritty/ Instagram

Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty pets Wally the emotional support alligator

In 2019, Henney revealed how he came to care for the alligator. He said he had taken in Wally after a friend rescued the 14-month-old reptile, according to the York Daily Record.

Henney brought Wally to schools and senior homes for educational purposes and quickly noticed that children with developmental issues especially enjoyed the animal's presence, per the York Daily Record. This observation prompted Henney to seek "emotional support animal" status for Wally, and in December 2018, he was successful.

While Henney believes in Wally's calming powers, the alligator's owner has also stressed during his educational visits that wild animals should not be considered pets.

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