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3-foot alligator retrieved from pond in neighborhood near Cumming
0812Gator
A 3-foot gator was located in a retention pond in the Stonehaven Pointe subdivision off Piney Grove Road. - photo by MICAH GREEN

An alligator is a long way from the swamps where the reptiles are often found after it was reportedly spotted in a body of water in a neighborhood near Cumming on Tuesday.

The gator was located in a retention pond in the Stonehaven Pointe subdivision off Piney Grove Road, according to multiple sources.

Lew Benedict, an Alpharetta resident whose nanny lives in the neighborhood, said the woman’s neighbor spotted two gators, though only one has been confirmed sighted.

“She was kind of stunned,” he said of his nanny, Erla, when she described the scene. “I’ve lived in Atlanta my whole life and I’ve never heard of a gator north of three hours south of here.”

There was no indication residents have been harmed by the animals or that they posed an immediate risk to residents.

“It kind of makes you think of foul play,” Benedict said, “like someone had them and had released them.”

A resident told the Forsyth County News on Thursday that one 3-foot gator was retrieved earlier in the morning.

“A resident of the neighborhood contacted our Wildlife Resources Division Game Management office located in Northeast Georgia [Thursday] morning,” said Melissa Cummings, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.

Cummings said because of the size of the animal — less than 4 feet in length — the neighborhood’s homeowners association was given permission to hire a permitted nuisance wildlife trapper to remove the animal.

“We will work with the trapper to have it released in suitable habitat — below the fall line, roughly the line that connects Columbus-Macon-Augusta  and not near people,” she said.

Mary Foster, a Stonehaven Pointe resident and former homeowners association member, said she talked to multiple neighbors Wednesday who saw the gator — three are rumored to live there, but only one was caught.

Weve had several issues, fines from the county because of the retention ponds for not maintaining them, she said. I can't tell you how they got there, but theyve been there for a while because theres a mom, a dad and a baby.

She said the pond is stagnant, which may be a reason the animals have taken up residence.

"Gators dont do moving water. They like stagnant, swampy water," she said.

A call was dispatched to the Forsyth County 911 Center Wednesday just before 8:15 p.m. in connection with the gators, though the concern was for the multiple people reportedly throwing trash into the pond to lure the gator out, said Deputy Epifanio Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office animal control unit does not handle wildlife calls and defers them to the DNR, Rodriguez said.

This is not the first report of alligators being found in Georgia, with one being spotted in the Chattahoochee River earlier this year.

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