The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has requested that a business owner rethink his unique service that’s come to be known as “alligator pool parties”: bringing a live alligator to splash around in the water at your pool party. The request comes after numerous complaints from residents who were worried about the alligators’ and partiers’ well-being.
Bob Barrett, owner of Alligator Attraction in Madeira Beach, Florida has been supplying young alligators to swim with children at pool parties since a lull in business at his alligator educational center at John’s Pass. He needed a new revenue stream and so the idea to host alligator birthday parties was born. For $175, alligators less than four feet in length arrive at a buyer’s house; their mouths are taped and they are allowed into a residential pool to swim alongside the partygoers.
It was a hit. Too much of a hit, in fact, and so the FWC asked Barrett to change his business practices; requiring that his partying gators be held or restrained by a handler at all times.
See what an alligator birthday party looks like in the video below.
When complaints first arose, the FWC inspected the company and found no violations. The FWC commented saying that the pool parties were not illegal, although they did not encourage the action.
Among those to complain was the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. Others worried about the harm to children if a gator’s mouth becomes untapped, a scratch, unrestrained lashing of the tail and so forth. Those who fear for the gator said an alligator should not be put in chlorine water and that harassment from children is a concern.
Barrett, the owner, has agreed to temporarily put pool parties on hold until he can verify that he can comply with rules set in place by FWC.
“All we’re doing is recommending that he alter his business practices so that he can continue to exhibit the animals,” FWC Officer Baryl Martin told reporters.