‘Swampmaster’ making waves with local animal cruelty group

Posted at 4:01 PM, Feb 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-18 23:31:41-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich -- The Annual Boat show has set up shop in downtown Grand Rapids and with it comes some controversy over a returning exhibit.

It's the alligator wrangler show put on by Jeff Quattrochi, also known as the 'swampmaster.'

It's his fifth year returning to the Boat Show in Grand Rapids, but at least one animal lover has filed a complaint over it.

It's advertised as an educational program, where Quattrochi travels from city to city putting on shows with live alligators.

John Dunn is the local founder of 'End Circus Cruelty.' He says once they realize the alligator wrangler was coming into town, they had to do something.
So they settled on filing a complaint with Kent County Animal Control.
Dunn says there's three main regulations that he thinks are being violated by Quattrochi.

use 2The first is that any animal that's bitten someone is not allowed in Kent County... going on to say that Quattrochi has been bitten many times by his alligators. We later confirmed from Quattrochi over the phone, that he has been bit 15 times during his career.

The second regulation that Dunn says is being violated is that no dog or any other animal should be teased. He goes on to describe his interpretation of what was happening during the show.. saying Quattrochi was poking the alligator with a stick, pulling its tail, ultimately jumping on the animals back.

Lastly, Dunn says that Kent County does not allow exotic animals. The Kent County Health Department has released a statement saying that they did recieve a complaint in regards to the alligator show and the investigation is still on going.

We were able to speak with the alligator wrangler, Jeff Quattrochi over the phone, and he says the animal rights group has it all wrong.
He says that he buys the alligators from a farm, where they would otherwise die. He uses them for five days and the retires them into a self owned pond in Florida.
He goes on to say that if anything, he should be looked at as an 'alligator rescue.'

As of now, Jeff Quattrochi's performances at the Boat Show will go on as scheduled.

We'll follow this story and we'll let you know what happens with the filed complaint.