UTAH

Owner of Scales and Tails defends business from PETA after viral gator attack video

Aug 19, 2021, 5:48 PM
Utah Alligator...
Meet Darth Gator from Scales and Tales. Darth Gator is an American Alligator reaching 8ft in length. [Photo Credit: Scales and Tales]

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — The owner of Scales and Tales in West Valley is defending the alligator, and his shop, from PETA after a now viral video shows the gator nearly biting off the hand of a trainer. 

“As long as I have a say in it, nothing bad will happen to Darth Gator,” Shane Richins told KSL Newsradio.

PETA sent a letter to the Scales and Tales owner, urging he release the 8 and-a-half foot gator named Darth Gator, and all other reptiles, to an an accredited facility. PETA is calling what happened to handler Lindsay Bull “a near fatality.”

“Shuttering your animal exhibits will show that you’re taking this incident seriously and taking steps to ensure that it never happens again,” PETA’s letter reads.  

Recipe for disaster

The group claims alligators “imprisoned in miserably small enclosures where they have no opportunity to escape, they become aggressive. Continuing to exploit them is a recipe for disaster. ”

Richins disagreed with the assessment from PETA.

“We do deeply care for these animals and they do have what they need.” Richins said. “His [Darth Gator’s] enclosure is about the be expanded. We’re just waiting for the lease on the new place.”

He called the claims from PETA “facts from Wikipedia.”

“He [Darth Gator] gets all the food he wants, he doesn’t have to fight for his territory, he’s not going to lose his arm to another gator that he got in to a dispute with.” Richins said. “In the wild he wouldn’t have even gotten to this size, most likely.” 

A love for the animals

Richins said he deeply cares about his animals. 

“Their health and well being means a lot to me,” he said. 

Richins said he has not seen any aggressive behavior from Darth Gator after the incident. They haven’t done another feeding with him since then because, according to Richins “he doesn’t feed everyday.” He also said he’s waiting for the injured trainer, Bull to get back to work to have her be part of his next feeding. 

Richins said Thursday his business was also getting calls from PETA supporters.

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Owner of Scales and Tails defends business from PETA after viral gator attack video