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Trappers cart off dreaded gator

Goodbye and good riddance.

That was the sentiment of neighbors late Thursday as a 9-foot, 9-inch, 350-pound alligator was removed from the Sunlit Cove area.

"Words can't express how happy I am to hear it was trapped," said Joseph Dougherty, the owner of a 92-pound mastiff killed by an alligator early Sunday. "Holy Mackerel _ 9 feet and 9 inches?"

The catch is a routine event, said Lt. Jeff Hudson, Nuisance Alligator Program Coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

"A big one? We've captured two this year that were 13 feet and almost a thousand pounds," he said. "Those are big ones."

On Thursday evening the alligator took the bait from a trap set by alligator trapper Joe Borelli. It took three men three hours to capture the gator in a back yard in the 300 block of 87th Avenue N.

The capture in a back yard along the 300 block of 87th Avenue N took three hours and three men.

"It took two hours to wait until he was worn out so they could lift him out of the water," said Janet Panebianco, a resident of the 100 block of 87th Avenue N, who watched the capture.

The men finally pulled the exhausted gator up to the sea wall, tied its mouth and feet, and loaded it into a truck.

Its meat and skin will be sold. Prices vary, though alligator skin sells for about $30 per foot, and the meat goes for about $5 a pound.

Panebianco will be glad to swim in the water behind her house again.

"I'm still a bit wary about swimming until I'm sure a friend of his wouldn't come back," she said.

Before the alligator was captured, Dougherty posted fliers in the area of the 300 block of 90th Ave N, warning neighbors.

"Somehow, somewhere, something needs to be changed so this doesn't happen again," he said. "People should be able to dial one number and get these things out of there."

_ Nuisance Alligators can be reported any time to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-800-282-8002.