Friday, September 29, 2023 – A baseball fan was turned away after taking his emotional support alligator to a game.
The man, a Philadelphia Phillies fan identified by the Philadelphia Inquirer as Joie Henney, is said to own the alligator, called Wally, to help him in his battle with depression.
According to the Phillies’ official website, “Guide dogs, service animals, or service animals in training are welcome. All other animals are prohibited.”
The fan’s alligator apparently, did not fit into these categories and was not allowed into Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night, Sept. 27, when the Phillies took on the Pirates.
Henney once told the Inquirer that Wally, who boasts over 109k followers on TikTok, likes to give hugs and is friendly.
“My doctor wanted to put me on depression medicine, and I hate taking medicine. I had Wally, and when I came home and was around him, it was all OK,” Henney said in 2019.
“My doctor knew about Wally and figured it works, so why not?”
According to the Washington Post, Henney has been in possession of Wally since 2015 when he was 14 months old, and also helps rescue reptiles find homes at zoos and other sanctuaries. He kept Wally around and called the alligator “very special.”
“When he turns his nose toward you, that means he expects a kiss,” Henney told the Washington Post last summer.
“He’s super sweet-natured.”
The gator put social media into a predictable light-hearted frenzy following the denial of entry.
Many have expressed outrage at the alligator and its owner being turned away from the game.
“The discrimination in this country makes me sick,” one user wrote on X.
Others have said they were right to turn them away.
Another X user wrote: “I’d love to know how an alligator shows support.”