Emotional Support Alligator Banned From Attending Baseball Game

Oftentimes, emotional support animals are welcomed into places like sporting events. That wasn’t the case for a Pennsylvania man who was unable to attend the Philadelphia Phillies when stadium security turned away his emotional support alligator.

Joie Henney, a former hunting and fishing TV host, has had Wally the emotional support alligator for about seven years now. He first got the unusually gentle reptile licensed as an emotional support animal while he was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Since then, Wally has helped Henney and the pair have visited schools, hospitals and assisted living facilities. This also caught the attention of the Philadelphia Phillies, who invited him to bring his pet to meet members of the team and their partners before a game between the home team and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

When Henney arrived at the stadium with Wally, security told him it was too late for the meet-up, as the players were already warming up on the field. “So we bought tickets and Wally has been into other baseball games, so we assumed that it was OK,” Henney said. “We never asked or checked with it, but they only allow service animals, such as dogs and horses, into the stadium, not ESA animals.”

Henney was disappointed but did say he understood the decision. “When they came and told us, there was no disagreement, there was no arguing, there was no conflict at all. It was all good,” he said. “They’ve got their rules and we’ve got to go by their rules. I can’t go there and make my rules.”

The rules for Citizens Bank Park specifically state: “Certified service dogs or service dogs in training for guests with special needs are welcome. All other animals are prohibited.”

Henney said he is still hoping to schedule another meet-up with team members in the future.