Attorney says Beechview alligator owner knows how to care for reptiles
The Beechview man facing more than 30 neglect charges after police seized nearly three dozen animals, mostly reptiles, from his home is a respected professional in the reptile world who knows how to care for them, his attorney said.
Mark A. McGowan, 44, waived a preliminary hearing Thursday in Pittsburgh Municipal Court, McGowan’s lawyer, Komron Maknoon, said.
Maknoon said there was nothing to gain from having the hearing after he learned of police body camera footage that exists from a search of McGowan’s Rutherford Avenue home. The case will proceed to Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.
Maknoon said he will argue that McGowan is experienced with caring for reptiles.
“At this point, it’s a question for the experts to review the standard of care,” Maknoon said.
Makoon said McGowan has received support from people around the world.
On June 6, Pittsburgh police found Chomp, a 5-foot alligator, wandering in Beechview. The alligator was one of several found in the Pittsburgh area recently.
McGowan owns Jungle’s Edge Exotics and specializes in exotic pets, according to a Facebook page.
McGowan told police he had as many as 400 animals in the residence earlier this year but was downsizing because of a planned move to Saltsburg. Police filed the charges July 2 because McGowan hadn’t provided an address he was moving to, they said in the criminal complaint.
McGowan hasn’t and won’t be moving to Saltsburg, mainly because of the charges, Maknoon said.
His client has been “cooperative since Day One,” Maknoon said.
Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .