FORD HEIGHTS, Ill. (STMW) — A south suburban man told police he kept a four-foot alligator in his home because “chicks dig it,” authorities said after his arrest for keeping a dangerous animal.

Dewayne Yarbrough, 43, of the 800 block of East 11th Place in Ford Heights is charged with one misdemeanor count of possession of a dangerous animal, a Cook County Sheriff’s office release said. 

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Authorities say Yarbrough kept the gator in a small tank and only fed it once a month — a meal of 10 live mice — to keep the size down, the release said. American alligators traditionally average between eight and 14 feet in length.

Investigators from the sheriff’s Animal Crimes Unit learned that Yarbrough had the alligator confined in his home. And after getting a search warrant on Thursday, officers went to the home and found the alligator in a fish tank in the kitchen.

Yarbrough told police he bought it five years ago in Indiana for $200. And he said he kept the alligator as a pet because “chicks dig it,”  spokeswoman Liane Jackson told Newsradio 780.

Cook County Animal Control secured the gator and transported it to the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge. It will be turned over later to the Chicago Herpetological Society.

Yarbrough posted $100 bond and was released. He is scheduled to appear in court July 5 in Markham, the sheriff’s office said. 

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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