NEPTUNE, NJ (PIX11) — The man who discovered an alligator in a plastic container in New Jersey allegedly staged the ‘gator’s abandonment, the Monmouth County SPCA said Thursday. 

The alligator had been owned by an East Orange man who bought the reptile in Pennsylvania, according to the SPCA. He was evicted and moved from East Orange to Ocean Township, where he was once again facing eviction. A friend offered to take the reptile off his hands.

The owner’s friend brought the alligator to his Neptune Township home, but his “parents refused to allow him to keep the 3-foot-long reptile,” the SPCA wrote on Facebook. The two then hatched the plan to “abandon” the alligator and call it in to police.

“We know now that at no point surrounding these circumstances was the alligator left in a dangerous or life-threatening situation,” the SPCA wrote. 

The alligator has been transferred to the care of the Cape May Zoo.

“We’d like to thank our Humane Law Enforcement Division who works in conjunction with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for investigating this case promptly and professionally,” Monmouth County SPCA Executive Director Ross Licitra said. “We’re also grateful for the assistance of the public, who gave us key information bringing us to the conclusion of this case.”