The staff at the Popeye’s on Leontyne Price Blvd. got a surprise customer in their drive-thru on Monday, August 22 when a three-foot long alligator was discovered in the drive-thru lane of the local chicken restaurant. Although the Popeye’s chain bills itself as authentic Louisiana cuisine, the appearance of an alligator was a little too authentic and a report was called in to the City of Laurel’s animal control.
When animal control officer Norman Rhodes arrived on the scene the animal had taken cover under a pile of pallets next to the restaurant’s dumpster. Rhodes used a catch pole that the department would usually use on dogs or cats to capture the animal and put it in the dog box on the back of his truck. Rhodes also contacted the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for assistance in repatriating the alligator. Rhodes and a game warden set the animal free outside of the city limits.
Alligators are protected animals so the department was not allowed to harm it. Unless you call going to Popeye’s drive-thru and not getting your order being harmed.
Laurel Police Chief Tommy Cox explained that alligator sightings are becoming more common in Laurel and Yolanda Powe, Supervisor for the City of Laurel’s Animal Control department, confirmed this. Powe stated that her department receives at least one call about alligators each year. However, this incident is the second alligator call for 2022.
As the occurrences become more common and as the rainy weather we are expecting through the rest of the week continues, Cox and Powe say that it is possible for more critters to be washed into the city. Powe advised that residents and visitors alike, “be aware of your surroundings, keep your pets on a leash, and leave it to animal control or Mississippi Wildlife,” if you encounter one.
The City of Laurel’s animal control department is operated by the City of Laurel Police Department and their officers are available 24 hours a day for emergencies and keep regular business hours on Monday- Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The department conducts welfare checks on animals, captures stray dogs, provides cat and dog adoption services, removes and disposes of deceased animals throughout the city, and has two drivers on staff to spray the city, its ballfields, and parks for mosquitos. Their offices are located at 2811 1st Street and they can be reached at 601.428.6463.