Missouri police shoot fake alligator

Thu Jun 2, 2011 6:11pm EDT
 
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KANSAS CITY, Mo (Reuters Life!) - Police in a suburb in the state of Missouri recently encountered one tough alligator -- or so they thought.

Officers in Independence, a Kansas City suburb, responded to a call on a Saturday evening about a large alligator lurking on the embankment of a pond, police spokesman Tom Gentry said Thursday.

An officer called a state conservation agent, who advised him to shoot the alligator because there was little that conservation officials could do at that time, Gentry said.

As instructed an officer shot the alligator, not once but twice, but both times the bullets bounced off -- because the alligator was made of cement.

The property owner told police later that he placed the ornamental gator by the pond to keep children away. But residents had little to fear.

"There are no alligators around here, we are too far north, it's too cold," said Bill Graham, spokesman for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Gentry acknowledged the incident is drawing a lot of attention.

"In hindsight, it's humorous," he said. "But we have to take every call seriously."

(Writing and reporting by Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune)