FORT BEND COUNTY, TX (KTRK) --Homeowners are upset about the effort by authorities to remove an alligator from a retention pond in one Katy area neighborhood.
The gator, which some have nicknamed "Thor", is about 6 feet to 7 feet long. Residents say they see it often on the banks of the pond just behind Firethorne in Fort Bend county.
"No one has ever seen the gator anywhere, but in a few feet of the pond," said homeowner DeLila Cooprider.
However, officials with Fort Bend Municipal Utilities District 151 say they recently received reports of the gator stalking landscaping crews around the pond. "First and foremost we're concerned about resident safety," said attorney Ryan Harper, who represents MUD 151.
Harper tells Eyewitness News the MUD, or municipal utility district, which owns the land on which the pond sits, contacted a nuisance trapper to have the gator removed.
Neighbors say they noticed traps Saturday morning, and as they approached one they realized there was a gator attached to the hook at the end of the line. "I pulled on it and sure enough the alligator started freaking out," Mason Weiler said.
He admits cutting the line, but says he did so thinking the trap was set by some one other than an official alligator hunter. "We decided that cutting it loose would be the right thing to do. We didn't know if it was a professional job," according to Weiler. "Nobody in the neighborhood was aware he was gonna be removed, so I set him free. I thought that was the right thing to do."
Now, Weiler is concerned about the gator's welfare, because it has a hook stuck in it somewhere.
Texas Parks and Wildlife officials say under the law a nuisance trapper may choose to relocate an alligator, or they may euthanize the animal if necessary. That decision is subject to prior discussions with the entity that owns the property on which the animal is located.
MUD 151 officials say based on homeowner concern they have temporarily "suspended" efforts to catch the gator, as they re-evaluate whether to use another trapper that might attempt to relocate it. "It needs to be caught. It's a really bad situation. This makes it more difficult to catch it now," said Josh Wailes, who is a consultant for MUD 151.
One resident apparently has started a GoFundMe.com page in an effort to raise money to relocate the gator.
Texas Parks and Wildlife officials are looking at whether there was any crime committed in cutting the line which caught the gator.