LONG ISLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) – DEC officials have charged a New York man with the unlawful possession of an American alligator in his backyard.

The man had been keeping the 6-foot long aquatic reptile as a pet in a fenced-in area on his property. The animal has since been taken to a permitted facility in Massachusetts.

Owning alligators as pets as illegal in New York State. New York Environmental Conservation Law only allows alligators to be kept for exhibition, research or educational purposes. Such uses require a special DEC permit.

The Suffolk County man is scheduled to appear in court later this year and may end up facing additional charges.

If you see an environmental violation, like an unusual pet in a neighbor’s backyard, call the 24 hour DEC hotline at 1-800-DEC-ECOS or 1-844-332-3267.

Photos provided from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.