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Retired Firefighter Has a 13-Foot, 47-Year-Old, Cookie Loving Pet Gator

It’s not often (if ever) an alligator is on the news for loving pizza and chocolate chip cookies. Then again, David Van Buren and his pet alligator, Gwendolyn, have a relationship more like an owner and a dog than a person and a gator.

Van Buren, of Coconut Grove, Florida,  got Gwendolyn (which is a male) when he was just 9-years old after begging his mom for the $2 gator while vacationing in Florida. He kept Gwen fed by feeding him goldfish. Goldfish eventually turned into rotisserie chicken and fish with pizza and cookies thrown in for good measure.

A retired Mimi-Dade firefighter, Van Buren now faces another battle to keep his beloved pet gator after an FWC investigation. His last battle to keep Gwendolyn made national news in the 90’s and resulted in a temporary separation before the two were reunited.

“He’s got almost a sixth sense that Fish and Game wants to make boots of him,” Van Buren said, when asked about the current investigation. “If they had a problem with the judge’s ruling, they should have said something 22 years ago.”

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