A suburban Chicago woman was charged with animal cruelty and reckless conduct for allegedly leaving a baby alligator at a baggage claim at O’Hare International Airport last year.
Alexis T. Prokopchuk, 29, of the 17400 block of West Eisenhower Road in Oakbrook Terrace, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty and reckless conduct in connection with the November incident.
The alligator, named Allie by rescue volunteers, was found by maintenance workers at Baggage Claim 3 in O’Hare Airport in early November.
Volunteers caring the alligator following its rescue said the young reptile was sickly and malnourished.
Jason Hood, president of the Chicago Herpetological Society said the alligator didn’t have the proper nutrition it needed and had a bent spine and soft bones.
The Chicago Transit Authority released a series of images of a woman they believe rode a train with the two-foot-long gator before it was found at the airport.
It is illegal to own an alligator in Illinois without a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.
Police could not confirm how they were able to identify Prokopchuk, but said they did have surveillance footage and pictures.