Phoenix gets alligator from now-closed Las Vegas Zoo

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by Tami Hoey

Video report by Jason Volentine

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 4:09 PM

PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Herpetological Society (PHS) has a brand new resident, courtesy of the now-closed Southern Nevada Zoological Park, also known as the Las Vegas Zoo.

PHS picked up "Sweetness", a 400 pound, 10-foot-long American alligator, from the zoo on Tuesday.

The alligator was not exactly cooperative. "Let's put it this way. We're headed for Advil right after this," said Russ Johnson of PHS, as he and several other wrestled to move the gator to its new home.

The Vegas zoo shut down after all three members of its zoo-keeping staff quit. They reportedly walked out because they said the zoo director wouldn't allow what they considered to be an acceptable level of animal care.

The zoo initially posted a sign that the facility was closed for upgrades, but now it's clear there were other reasons for the closure.

The USDA has been actively working to find homes for the animals.

"Sweetness" the alligator will stay in Phoenix for several weeks before heading off to a new, permanent home in South Carolina.

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