Alligators, Diamondback Terrapins Seized from Virginia Beach Home

A person in Virginia Beach is accused of having alligators and diamondback turtles illegally in his possession.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- A man faces a misdemeanor charge of Unlawful Possession of Wildlife after officers found two alligators and two terrapins at his home.

A search warrant affidavit stated that officers received a complaint that Shawn Rentsch had the animals in his house.

“The thought of an alligator being close bothers me,” said neighbor Virginia Belvin when she found out about the case. "Maybe there’s no chance ever that an alligator would get out, but why would anyone want an alligator?”

13NewsNow went to Rentsch’s home and spoke with him briefly. When asked for comment, he shut his door.

Herpetologist John Kleopfer with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries said the state want to avoid situations in which people dump alligators and, in turn, the alligators establish a population.

“There's always the possibility of any wild animal biting someone. These are not your typical pets,” said Kleopfer.

The search warrant affidavit stated that illegal possession of alligators presents potential dangers to the public. It also said northern diamondback terrapins are a species of concern and are at high risk of extinction.

"I don't think they're very safe for either kids who would be fascinated with them or little old ladies who can't run fast," said Belvin. 

Rentsch is due in court on July 11. 

© 2018 WVEC-TV


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