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Alligators removed from backyard of South Daytona home

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SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla. - Two large alligators were removed from behind a home in South Daytona where they have been living for several years.

Neighbors watched while Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers and Gatorland workers removed the gators from behind the home of Larry and Lisa Miller Thursday afternoon.

One of the gators, a female, was about nine feet in length, the second was a bit smaller.

"The little male, he was 6 foot 11 inches and he gave them a little bit of a fight.  He definitely had some spunk to him," said Gatorland representative Michelle Harris.

Larry Miller told Channel 9 that the animals were pets. He said he has raised the gators since they were hatchlings. He said one of the alligators is 20 years old and the other 17.

"Just like anybody, they love their dog or they love their cats,  I love alligators," said Miller. He said he has been keeping the alligators at his home for the past six years.

Miller said he refers to his alligators as "Big Boy" and "Big Girl."

Lisa Miller said it was emotional for her husband to watch as his pets were hauled away.

"He has always handled them and they are his babies, and he has already lost his parents and a few other things, and it is like he is losing everything he's got all at once," Lisa Miller said.

The alligators were reported by a neighbor who was doing yard work last week and spotted the gators. Miller was out of town at the time.

The gators will be moved to Gatorland, a wildlife attraction near Kissimmee.

"It would be a real nice comfortable environment for them to live out the rest of their days," said Harris.

But the Millers said they hope to get the gators back. The FWC has given them a week to decide if they want to apply for a permit to keep the gators.

One hurdle they face is finding someplace to keep the gators if they do get the permit. The city will not allow them to keep them at their home.

"It is going to be hard to make a decision in a week when you have had them for close to 20 years," said Lisa Miller.

Gatorland officals said the alligators will stay in quarantine for the first 30 days that they are at the facility.