Darnell Dockett is a fun, but strange dude. He tweets about police encounters, and buys baby alligators.

Now it seems that poor little Nino–the alligator Dockett purchased earlier this week after a near-death experience in the Florida Everglades–has pissed off PETA. (Well, Docket has, not the alligator.)

In a press release issued today, PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said the exotic animal trade is “cruel and deadly” and that alligators are wild animals who suffer in captivity.

But it’s more than just a concern over harm to Nino’s health that prompted PETA to address Dockett’s newest house pet. In a letter written directly to Dockett yesterday, PETA notified the Cardinals defensive tackle that keeping his new friend around the yard may actually be illegal.

From the letter dated July 7, 2011:

Dear Mr. Dockett,

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) was alerted this week to media reports indicating that you recently purchased a baby American alligator from the Florida Everglades and that you intend to keep him as a captive pet. Please know that Florida heavily regulates the keeping of alligators and that it’s unlawful to keep an alligator as a pet anywhere in the state of Arizona without a special permit. These prohibitive laws and regulations exist because, in addition to posing a threat to public safety, wild animals suffer greatly in captivity.

Alligators in the wild roam freely with members of their own kind, travel long distances, and thrive in the rivers and lakes that they call home. When confined, wild animals will exhibit neurotic and self-destructive behaviors because of extreme boredom, stress, and frustration at being unable to engage in natural behaviors. Keeping an alligator as a pet is simply unfair to the animal. It also poses grave dangers to you and others. By their very nature, these animals are unpredictable and can inflict serious harm. Reptiles are also common carriers of salmonella. You would be held liable for any damage, injuries, or illnesses caused by the alligator.

Respectfully, we ask that you carefully consider this information. Please know that we stand ready to help find a suitable habitat for this animal. May we please hear that you will do the right thing?

Michelle Cho

Wait, PETA is worried about a football player not named Michael Vick? I think it’s time for the weekend to start…