Wildlife officials kill alligator found in Southwest Virginia

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GATE CITY, Va. (WJHL) - An investigation into how an American alligator that got loose near Gate City, Virginia and was killed by wildlife officials is ongoing, according to a Virginia Department of Inland Game and Fisheries spokesman.

The alligator was the subject of an overnight search in Big Moccasin Creek near Gate City late last week. VDIGF agents found the animal and shot it because of its size and the possibility of it being a public safety issue, according to Lee Walker, a department spokesman.

Walker said the alligator had been on the loose for a couple weeks when it was finally found.

Investigators with the department have met with the person who owned the alligator, which was four feet long. No charges in the matter have been filed but Walker did say the investigation will continue.

A permit is required in Virginia to own an alligator.

Walker did point out that American alligators are considered protected species but VDIGF has authority to manage non-native species in the state.