June 27, 2016

Partly cloudy

Police cite a Medina man for having an alligator in home

MEDINA — Thurman James Moye will have to see his alligator later.

On Wednesday, police cited Moye, 37, for having an alligator at his home, 400 N. Court St., a violation of city code.

James Moye, of Medina, holds Harley, his 10-year-old American alligator, Thursday outside his mother’s house in Medina Township. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY LIZ SHEAFFER)

On Thursday, Moye, who goes by his middle name, moved the 10-year-old alligator, named Harley, to his mother’s house in Medina Township.

“She don’t care for the big lizard,” Moye said, “but she knows I love her.”

Acting on a complaint from the Medina County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, officers went to Moye’s home to check on the alligator, according to a police report.

Moye invited the officers in and “in the living room was a large aquarium with the alligator in it,” the report said.

Moye said he wasn’t aware it was against city code to keep an alligator.

“If I would have known keeping her was illegal, I would have moved her before this,” he said.

City code 505.14A pertaining to dangerous animals reads: “No person shall keep, maintain or have in his or her possession or under his or her control within the City any dangerous animal. A ‘dangerous animal’ means and includes any wild mammal, reptile or fowl which is not naturally tame or gentle but is of a wild nature or disposition and which because of its size, vicious nature or other characteristics would constitute a danger to human life or property.” Alligator is No. 2 on the list.

“In this case, if this alligator would have gotten out of the house, then it would put neighbors, pets, even children at risk of harm, and that’s the purpose of the ordinance,” Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.

“We’re just trying to protect people from having animals like this that are generally not kept as pets,” Hanwell said.

“I know Medina is doing the best it can to keep everybody safe,” Moye said. “Then again, I don’t understand, you know?”

He said Harley is about 4½ feet long and he bought her 10 years ago from a store in Strongsville when she was about 6 inches long.

“The reason she’s named Harley,” he said, “is when she growls, she sounds like a Harley idling. When she hisses, though, I leave her alone.

“What reptiles love is heat, food and sleep,” Moye said. “But they do recognize who feeds them.”

Harley’s diet consists of mice and rats, which can be purchased from pet stores, and dog food, he said.

Moye is scheduled to appear in Medina Municipal Court on Wednesday on the fourth-degree misdemeanor charge.

Staff writer Michelle Sprehe contributed to this report.

Contact Liz Sheaffer at (330) 721-4060 or lsheaffer@medina-gazette.com.

About Liz Sheaffer