Man Asks For Help Finding His Emotional Support Alligator Wally Who Was Stolen From His Friends' Backyard

He was released into a Georgia swamp, and authorities are refusing to help find him.

Alligator Artush / Canva Pro

Losing a pet is always a difficult experience. But when the pet is also a service animal, the heartbreak is on a whole other level — even when it's an unlikely companion like an emotional support alligator, as in the case of a Pennsylvania man on a frantic search for his lost animal buddy

Joie Henney is asking for help finding his emotional support alligator Wally.

Wally has been an internet sensation for years — it's not every day you see a five-foot-long alligator in a harness being walked on a leash, after all, especially at events like a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game, where Wally was somewhat famously barred from entering last year.


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Wally has been Henney's emotional support alligator for nearly 10 years and helps him with his depression.

Wally is definitely no ordinary alligator. Gators and their cousins, the crocodiles, are, of course, known for being vicious and deadly. They have the strongest bite force ever, measured at 3,700 pounds of pressure per square inch. They are, in short, not to be messed with.


But Wally is an exception. He's… well, downright cuddly. "I've never met an alligator that will not bite you," Henney told CBS in 2022.

He demonstrated what happens when putting his hand in Wally's mouth, saying, "You fool around the head like this; their instinct is to grab you, but he does not do it.

Henney said Wally's sweet, good nature has helped him immensely with a deep depression, and he calls him his "best buddy."


He even sleeps in the same bed as Henney and goes everywhere with him, just like a dog, cat, or any other pet who's a member of the family. But their most recent trip together resulted in what seems likely to be a tragedy.

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Wally, the alligator, was stolen from Henney during a vacation to Georgia and released into a swamp.

When Henney headed to Georgia for a getaway, he took Wally along like always. And it seems his sweet, docile nature may have worked against him. Henney shared in a Facebook post that Wally was stolen by someone known to lure alligators into others' yards as a prank.

When the owners of the home understandably freaked out, they called authorities at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, who in turn called a trapper. The trapper then released Wally into a nearby swamp with several other alligators, presumably on the assumption that he came from that swamp in the first place.


"The swamp is very large, and the trapper said the chances of them finding Wally is slim to none," Henney wrote in the post.

Henney is asking for help finding Wally and has hired a lawyer to fight the authorities he believes are stonewalling him.

"We need all the help we can get to bring my baby back," Henney said in a social media video as he broke down in tears. 

But there's one major problem: It is illegal to own alligators in Georgia, and Henney said in a TikTok video that the trapper who released Wally is refusing to provide any information and is not required to cooperate with Henney's efforts.


Even worse, Henney has been told that if he is able to locate and retrieve Wally, he will be arrested and fined for doing so. "It's not right, and it's not fair," Henney said in the video.

In Facebook posts, Henney shared that he has hired an attorney to help him fight for access to his pet. Some online have theorized that Georgia authorities may be acting in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, given Wally's emotional support animal status. Henney has also started a GoFundMe to help with legal fees and necessary veterinary treatments should Wally be found.

In the meantime, Henney has asked the scores of people on social media concerned about Wally's whereabouts to let the Georgia authorities do their jobs and to keep hoping and praying for a resolution. "I just hope we can find him," Henney said, "and get him back to Pennsylvania.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.