An emotional support alligator named Wally and his US baseball fan owner were denied entry from a Major Leauge Baseball stadium to meet players of the Philadelphia Phillies last week.
Joie Henney and his emotional support alligator Wally tried to enter the Philadelphia Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park on the day of their home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates to meet the team.
The duo were invited to the stadium so that Wally could meet the Phillies and their partners ahead of their home game Henney told CNN.
But unfortunatley the pair arrived late and weren’t able to hang out with the players pre game.
Henney assumed it would still be fine for him and Wally to attend the game as he and Wally have gone to watch baseball together before.
“So we bought tickets and Wally has been into other baseball games, so we assumed that it was OK,” Henney told CNN.
“We never asked or checked with it, but they only allow service animals, such as dogs and horses, into the stadium, not ESA animals.
“Wally is an emotional support animal, not a service animal. People criticised me because they don’t know the story behind everything … but when they came and told us, there was no disagreement, there was no arguing, there was no conflict at all. It was all good.”
The Citizens Park guidelines do also state that: “Certified service dogs or service dogs in training for guests with special needs are welcome. All other animals are prohibited.”
The alligator is Henney’s emotional support animal and can be seen on his socials getting cuddles from people at schools, police stations and hospitals with his owner regularly taking him out for walks in his harness.
Henney has had Wally for six years, telling CNN last year that he has been a long-time replite lover and rescuer for over 30 years.
“Wally has been quite different than any alligator I’ve ever dealt with in the past 30 years,” Henney told the publication.
“He doesn’t show anger. He doesn’t show aggression. He hasn’t since the day he was caught. We never could understand why.
“He’s just loveable. He sleeps with me, steals my pillows, steals my blankets. He’s just awesome.”
Henney had Wally licensed as an emotional support animal after he gave him comfort during radiation treatments for his cancer.
Here’s hoping Wally gets to mean the Philadelphia Phillies ASAP, and if he ever comes to Melbourne — you know where to find me.