Emotional Support Alligator Denied Entrance to Ball Game

WallyGator was shown on a leash outside Phillies ballpark
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 29, 2023 1:00 AM CDT
Phillies: No, Emotional Support Alligator Can't Come In
Stock photo of a different alligator.   (Getty Images / Philippe Clement)

A Phillies fan and his emotional support animal, an alligator named WallyGator, were denied entrance to watch Philadelphia host Pittsburgh Wednesday, the AP reports. Social media posts showed the gator on a leash with a harness with his name on it outside the stadium. WallyGator is a working emotional support alligator owned by Joie Henney, of Jonestown, Pennsylvania. The reptile has a big presence on Instagram and TikTok.

Citizens Bank Park's policy on support animals is posted on the Phillies' official website. It states, "Guide dogs, service animals, or service animals in training are welcome. All other animals are prohibited." Henney spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer last year and said WallyGator helps him battle depression and that "he likes to give hugs." Henney said then that the gator had never bitten anyone.

As the Washington Post explained last year, Henney took WallyGator in in 2015 after the young alligator was rescued from a pond, and quickly noticed the animal's surprisingly non-aggressive nature. It wasn't long before he realized WallyGator enjoyed being held and hugged, and the two enjoy cuddling and swimming together. He says he's not sure why the gator is so friendly. He takes WallyGator to events and even to visit with residents at retirement homes. "He works with a lot of special needs adults and children," Henney told 6ABC last year. "He puts thousands of smiles on people's faces almost every day. He comforts people when they're sad." (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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