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Concordia Parish deputies apprehend alligators

 

NATCHEZ — As a Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy, Walter Mackel said he has seen a lot of attitude problems while on patrol.

While on patrol last weekend, however, Mackel said he and his partner Jonathan Carroll wrangled into custody two small alligators that needed attitude adjustments after the two reptiles wandered away from their natural habitat into areas that were too close for comfort for area residents.

On Saturday, one of the alligators ended up on the front doorstep of a residence on U.S. 84 outside the Ferriday city limits.

Because the parish’s alligator nuisance officer was off-duty and officials from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries were too far away to respond to the emergency, the alligator call went to Mackel and Carroll.

For Mackel, responding to the alligator call was an exciting addition to his daily patrol, he said.

“It is like when you go to Burger King, and they give you two extra onion rings with your order of fries,” Mackel said. “It is something special — like a bonus for the job.”

When the two deputies got to the residence, they found a 5-foot alligator waiting to be taken into custody, Mackel said.

After the deputies threw a shirt over the alligator’s face, the deputies were able to grab the animal’s snout and get his mouth taped up, Mackel said.

After wrangling the reptile into submission, Mackel said they took the alligator back to the sheriff’s office, where “he was booked and processed.”

Sunday afternoon the two deputies and newly minted alligator wranglers were called into action when another alligator wandered into the parking lot of the soccer fields at the Concordia Recreation Complex, Mackel said.

Parents, who found the alligator lounging in the middle of the parking lot, notified the Sheriff’s office, Mackel said.

“The second alligator was maybe three- or maybe four-foot,” Mackel said. “He had issues — had a bit more attitude.”

Like the first alligator, Mackel and Carroll were able to wrangle the reptile and take it back to the sheriff’s office where officials with Wildlife and Fisheries retrieved it and released it back into the wild.

Mackel said the two weekend alligator calls were a first for him. In the 10 years he has been working as a deputy and police officer on both sides of the river, last weekend was the first time he has been called to wrangle an alligator.

“Just these two. Ten years, two alligators,” Mackel said.

Mackel said the alligators may have been pushed out of their normal habitat because of high water on Old River and other waterways.

Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy David Hedrick said he recommends residents call 911 or call his office if they find an alligator of any size at their house or on public property.

Hedrick said people should not try to wrangle the alligators themselves.

“Something they think might not be dangerous could get them injured,” Hedrick said. “They need to call the sheriff’s office, and we will call the appropriate person to handle the situation.”

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