Baseball fan's emotional support alligator denied entry into Philadelphia stadium

Wally the alligator enjoys significant popularity on social media with his Instagram page having more than 27,000 followers


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Photo: wallygatornjoie/Instagram
Photo: wallygatornjoie/Instagram

Published: Fri 29 Sep 2023, 6:16 PM

An “emotional support alligator” named Wally Gator was denied entry into a stadium in Philadelphia, US, that was hosting a Major League Baseball game on Wednesday.

Joie Henney had brought the five-foot reptile as his service animal to the Citizens Bank Park but both could not enjoy the Philadelphia Phillies Vs Pittsburgh Pirates game due to the stadium’s policy, according to media reports.

Wally has been an emotional support animal since 2018. Henney has a doctor’s letter stating that he needs the alligator’s companionship for his mental well-being, according to an international media outlet.

Wally enjoys significant popularity on social media with his Instagram page having more than 27,000 followers. On not being allowed into the stadium, Joie Henney told a TV channel that he and Wally had not gone to watch the match but to meet the players. However, when they reached, the teams were busy warming up.

“It was no big deal. We were going to go in down below [the stadium], but they were practising for the game and couldn't have visitors,” Henney said.

“They're going to get a hold of us before they go to their next game. Soon players will get to meet him,” he added.

According to the Citizens Bank Park’s policy on support animals, mentioned on its website, "Certified service dogs or service dogs in training for guests with special needs are welcome. All other animals are prohibited."

Videos on Wally’s Instagram show people holding the reptile in their arms with some kissing and petting it.

Henney adopted Wally in 2015 when the alligator was around a year old. He said he was informed about the reptile by his friend who rescued alligators in Florida. Wally, among other alligators, was in danger due to land development when Henney chose to help and domesticated it, reported a local media outlet.

“I've never met an alligator that will not bite you. You fool around [with their head], their instinct is to grab you. He does not do it. You can reach in there and rub his tongue. He refuses to close his mouth. We don't know why,” Henney told a media outlet back in 2022.


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