PORT HURON (WWJ) – Patrons of a new restaurant in downtown Port Huron will be greeted by a live 4-foot alligator named Wally.

Spokeswoman Kim Harmer said city council approved the move after the developer of Cajun Gator asked that the restaurant have an alligator in a habitat that would be separate from people but allow viewing.

But, she said, the problem was none of their ordinances addressed whether an alligator could be kept within a commercial district.

“So, at the request of the property owner, the city council revered that issue and asked for the city administration to develop an ordinance that could be considered that would allow for an alligator to be on the premises of a commercial district,” Harmer said, “with certain caveats and safeguards put in place.”

The measure passed by a vote of four to two. Councilwoman Anita Ashford, who voted against the proposal, said she’s not comfortable with the idea of a live alligator in an eatery.

Restaurant owner Jeremy Stemen said  they adopted the gator from a local family of four who could no longer handle the growing pet.

He said Wally has a pretty sweet set up.

“We have two areas for him to be able to sunbathe, and his has his midnight lights,” Stemen said. “He’s just swimming around, walking around, enjoying his whole plant area in there.”

Stemen said the reaction to Wally, so far,  has been good. When the animal outgrows his new home, Stemen said he’ll give him to an alligator preserve.

The restaurant is expected to open within the next week.


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