Pittsburgh police charge ‘Chomp’ alligator owner with neglect, animal cruelty | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Pittsburgh police charge ‘Chomp’ alligator owner with neglect, animal cruelty

Tom Davidson
1365972_web1_ptr-gatorcapture-060819
Submitted
This 5 foot long alligator namec Chomp. This 5 foot long alligator was found Thursday night in Beechview by a man walking his dog. It was captured and taken to Humane Animal Rescue in the East End.

Pittsburgh police on Tuesday charged a Beechview man, who admitted he owned a five-foot alligator who escaped from his home, with 33 counts of neglect.

As police probed the case surrounding the rogue reptile named Chomp, they learned that Mark A. McGowan, 44, who lives on Rutherford Avenue, kept reptiles there. Animal control officers found Chomp wandering along Rutherford Avenue on June 6. Four days later, police interviewed McGowan.

Inside his home, police said they saw a “multitude of animals, mostly reptiles” in the living room. They were in plastic bins, aquariums and cages. Six rabbits were blocked into the kitchen area and were loose, according to the criminal complaint.

The next day, authorities returned with a search warrant and a reptile expert and removed nearly three dozen animals that were deemed to be neglected.

McGowan owns Jungle’s Edge Exotics and also works with an organization called Creatures and Creep Rods that holds shows to raise money for nonprofits.

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, according to the criminal complaint.

Police filed the charges Tuesday, which include 33 summary counts of neglect in addition to the misdemeanor charges of reckless endangering and cruelty to animals.

The charges were filed because McGowan hadn’t provided a specific address in Saltsburg where he intended to move the animals, according to the complaint.

McGowan didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment about the charges.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.