Emotional support alligator taken and released in swamp

Joie Henney, 65, hugs his emotional support alligator named Wally
Wally, seen here with Joie in 2019, went missing over the weekend [AP]

An emotional support alligator was taken by pranksters and then dumped in a swamp, his owner says.

Known as WallyGator, this surprisingly cuddly creature has been helping Joie Henney relieve his depression for almost ten years.

Mr Henney’s beloved knobbly reptile was taken whilst on holiday in the US state of Georgia, he says, by someone looking to play a prank.

In the aftermath Wally was collected by local animal control and released into a swamp at a “remote location”, Mr Henny said.

In a Facebook post, Mr Henney said that his cold-blooded pal was taken by someone who then dropped him into another person’s yard, probably to scare them.

When he was discovered, alarmed residents contacted Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources who sent a trapper, who caught and released Wally into a swamp with 20 other alligators, Mr Henney said.

Okay everyone I am going to lay things out to the best of my ability. Wally was stolen by some jerk who likes to drop...

Posted by Wallygator on Sunday, April 28, 2024

Mr Henney, from Pennsylvania, said the trapper rated his chances of finding Wally were “slim to none” but is planning to search the swamp for his companion regardless.

“We just pray with other alligators present that Wally is OK” he said on social media.

WallyGator and Joie Henney first made headlines when the pair were denied entrance to watch the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Pittsburgh Pirates in Major League Baseball in September 2023.

Mr Henney believes Wally has helped him out of a deep emotional depression over the years.

"I've never met an alligator that will not bite you," Henney told CBS Evening News in 2022. "You fool around the head like this (Joe puts his hand in Wally's mouth), their instinct is to grab you [with their teeth] - but he does not do it.

"You can reach in and rub his tongue, he refuses to close his mouth, but we don't know why," added Henney.

Wally, who is about nine years old and 6ft (182cm) in length has an estimated bite of 3000 pounds per square inch.