What appears to be an alligator was seen crossing Jarry Street on Sunday afternoon in Montreal’s Villeray neighbourhood.
Local resident Mayssam Samaha, who witnessed and recorded the bizarre sight, was sitting by the window at Baristello cafe with her friends when they saw the reptile slowly crossing the busy street.
Samaha told Global News that she and several others went outside to stop traffic and make sure the animal didn’t get run over by a car.
The owner of Baristello, Piero Ciampoli, then called Montreal police. “It was a pretty funny phone call,” Samaha said.
Ciampoli said police asked him in disbelief if he was sure he knew what he was saying. “They didn’t believe me,” the cafe owner told Global News.
Ciampoli then went down the street to the local fire station and got firefighters to come to the scene and confirm his claim to police.
Just before police arrived, a man who appeared to be the reptile’s owner showed up, picked up the animal and put him in the backseat of his minivan that was parked nearby.
Samaha said authorities located the man’s van and went to address the incident. Montreal police confirmed that the animal had escaped the van and was safely returned to its owner.
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante tweeted on Sunday that the animal’s owner has all the proper permits to own the alligator and that the reptile is a part of an animal education program. Plante also thanked the citizens for rapidly alerting authorities, as well as Montreal police for their quick arrival on the scene.