Editor's note (Tuesday, July 31, 6:38 p.m.): This story has been updated to reflect the Humane Rescue Alliance's statement that the animal is an alligator.
Animal rescuers on Wednesday seized a 5-foot alligator being kept in the basement of a Southeast D.C. home where they say they also found a dozen scared and neglected canines that appeared to have been used in dog fights.
The Humane Rescue Alliance received a tip Wednesday that there was an alligator-like animal in the 3500 block of Brothers Place SE, Alliance spokesman David Smith said. A video on Humane Rescue Alliance's Facebook page shows officers serving a search warrant and uncovering a 4-foot blue plastic container that housed the caiman.
The Humane Rescue Alliance said the home showed signs of dog fighting and unsanitary living conditions. A second search warrant was served Thursday and the rescue organization recovered six dogs and six puppies from the address. The dogs were scared and appeared neglected.
The 12 dogs were taken to veterinary care. The alligator, which had been kept at the home illegally, was transported to Humane Rescue Alliance's facility on New York Avenue on Wednesday.
Police originally described the animal as a 4-foot alligator on Twitter and posted two photos, with one of the photos showing the reptile resting in murky water inside the container. Smith said that the animal is a 5-foot caiman. The Humane Rescue Alliance later said it was indeed an alligator.
Caimans are nocturnal reptiles from Central and South America that belong to the same family as alligators.