A Pennsylvania man has struck out in his attempt to bring his emotional support alligator to a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game.
Joie Henney went to Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday hoping to see the Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he wasn’t alone.
Along with him was WallyGator, a 5-foot-long gator Henney adopted in 2015 and has made into a popular animal on both Instagram and TikTok.
A video of Wally being walked by a girl went viral last year.
Henney and Wally hooked up after a friend of Henney’s in Florida asked for help relocating a group of alligators whose homes were destroyed because of land development.
Henney took Wally in his York County home, and they’ve been a happy pair ever since, according to USA Today.
“I’ve never met an alligator that will not bite you,” Henney told CBS News last year. “You fool around [with their head], their instinct is to grab you. He does not do it. You can reach in there and rub his tongue. He refuses to close his mouth. We don’t know why.”
Henney told the Philadelphia Inquirer last year that Wally “likes to give hugs” and has helped him battle depression.
But things weren’t so happy on Wednesday night when Henney tried to bring Wally inside the park, presumedly for peanuts and Cracker Jacks, and was turned down.
Although Wally has attended minor league games and Citizens Bank Park has hosted “Bark at the Park” events, the admission rules don’t apply to alligators ― even ones that provide emotional support.
The stadium’s policy on support animals only allows “certified service dogs or service dogs in training for guests with special needs” and states “all other animals are prohibited.”
HuffPost reached out to both Henney and the Philadelphia Phillies, but no one immediately responded.
However, Howard Eskin of Philadelphia Sports Radio station WIP was working the game when someone told him about the guy trying to get his gator into the stadium. He immediately walked over and took a photo of Wally.
It was ridiculous,” Eskin told HuffPost. “I understand, kind of, service animals, but he didn’t say that ― he said ‘emotional support animal.’”
Eskin said the guy wouldn’t leave and kept insisting on speaking to someone else higher in security.
“He bought a ticket for the gator,” Eskin said. “I should have asked where the seats were ― maybe they were infield.”
Eskin’s photo has since gone viral.