A baseball fan and his pet alligator were denied entry into the Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates game at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night. According to USA Today, Joseph Henney brought Wally to the game as his emotional support alligator in hopes of watching the Phillies beat the Pirates, but never made it past the entry gates.
The 5-foot-long reptile was rescued from a land development area in Florida in 2015 and has lived with Henney ever since. The alligator was quickly domesticated and took on traits similar to that of dogs and cats. Henney spoke with iHeartRadio's The KiddChris Show out of Cincinnati about his reaction to being turned away from the stadium.
"They thought I was going to throw a fit, no! I understand your rules. I respect that. That's it. You don't have to get your legal papers and give me a copy of them, no. I don't need all that. You say this and I respect you and that's the end of it."
The Alligator owner also touched on the true emotional support that Wally provided over the years as he struggled through depression and the loss of multiple loved ones. Wally might have been turned away from watching the Phillies play the Pirates on Wednesday, but the unique reptile is continuously welcomed across social media. USA Today mentioned that Wally has "tens of thousands of followers" across Instagram and TikTok, many of which were in support of letting him into the game.
So, why wasn't Wally allowed into the stadium?
Though the reptile has attended baseball games and other community events in the past, Citizens Bank Park's animal policy states that service dogs (and service dogs in training accompanied by guests with special needs) are permitted to enter the park, but all other animals are prohibited. Wednesday's incident garnered the attention of the X, (formerly known as Twitter) with numerous people in support of letting Wally into the park to watch the game.