It was just another Buffalo party with pizza and wings, thrown by the boss for a job well done -- except for the alligator in the corner.
Four days after its peaceful life along the banks of the Scajaquada Creek turned into a run for its life every time it came up for air, a 4-foot-long American alligator was the guest of honor Wednesday at the city's Animal Control office.
Snared by a worker the night before with a dog loop normally used for snarling pit bulls, the Scajaquada Gator was taking its brief spell in captivity well enough as it awaited a trip to Florida and freedom.
Frank Poincelot, the chief animal control officer, was keeping the alligator cooled off with frequent sprayings as the gator stoically eyed its room full of captors from a large cage in Poincelot's office at the city's Broadway Garage.
The gator, a bit of sauce still on its jaw from a chicken wing it devoured a few minutes earlier, occasionally hissed and showed off a mouthful of teeth, but for the most part ignored the dozen or so workers celebrating its capture.
Poincelot recognized how rough the past few days have been on the gator -- as well as his crew -- so he was keeping the animal quiet. The night before, he had rigged up a kiddie pool and heat lamp for the critter.
The hissing probably came as the alligator had to endure yet another round of stories from the group about how close each had come to catching it, tales that no doubt will grow a little taller with each passing year.
It's not every day that a crew who usually shoots pigeons, traps rats and squirrels and skunks, or gathers up stray dogs, gets to talk gator hunting.
There was Dave Petruzzi, still a bit pink from four days of creek duty in the hot sun, telling how the alligator had snapped as Petruzzi caught it in a big net, only to lose it.
Or Mark Young, with the shaved head and earring, telling how he watched the gator surface two feet from where he stood on the creek bank Tuesday.
But Chuck Loubert Jr. probably rated the loudest gator hiss of all, for he was the one, after Tuesday night's hunt was suspended, who crawled down the bank in response to a 911 call of yet another alligator sighting.
Forget the chicken that was set out as bait; forget the carp everyone thought the alligator had been feasting on. This alligator saw a rat on the bank near Loubert and came flying across the water after it.
Loubert stuck out his pole, looped the wire around the gator's neck and hung on for dear life.
It was a good thing, because the alligator plunged into the creek, dragging Loubert in with it. Suddenly, catching dangerous dogs for a living seemed pretty tame.
Loubert regained his footing, got back up on the bank and dragged the hissing, thrashing alligator onto the shore. His father, Chuck Sr., helped get the alligator into a cage and their city van.
It was the end of a long four days of nearly around-the-clock alligator hunting by Poincelot and his crew.
Poincelot is making arrangements to have the alligator shipped to a more comfortable location in Florida, and is hoping someone might come through with a private donation.