On September 27th, the Philadelphia Phillies played host to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a late season Major League Baseball game. Of the many people planning to attend the game, one of them was Joie Henney. Regrettably for Joie though, entrance was denied to his emotional support animal. Many of us know how invaluable animals can be for their sense of loyalty and unconditional love. But apparently Citizens Bank Park draws a line at emotional support animals when they’re alligators.
Well, it’s not just alligators. According to an article from Nexstar, service animals or service animals in training are perfectly welcome but all other animals are not, which would include emotional support alligators. The animal in question is one, WallyGator, presumably named after the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character from the 1960’s. And while this Gator doesn’t wear a cute little hat and collar, he has still made a positive impact on people through his social media, and even visiting a nursing home.
Wally has never reportedly bit anyone and has been a great source of help for coaxing Henney through depression, following the death of several friends. And because WallyGator is a rescue animal, it can’t be returned to the wild, meaning it’s presumably in the best care possible with Henney. To be fair though, all animals, even trained ones, have the potential to attack. So while WallyGator has not bitten anyone, one can imagine that if a dog bite can be bad, how bad would a gator bite be? Fortunately Wally is on a harness, has a great track record of being docile and he’s adorable.
Either way, Wally wasn’t able to make his way to see the Phillies play due to the rules surrounding the entry of non-service animals into the park. It does open up interesting questions too about the distinction between emotional support and service animals, and how the reptilian brain can respond to training and conditioning. Does an alligator pose any more risk than a dog when it comes to the potential to become aggressive? Not to mention, we did kind of just report on a woman’s remains being found in the jaws of an alligator. So, just saying that there may be reasons for why when they sing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” gators aren’t included.