NOWTHEN (AP) - The Anoka County Sheriff's Office says a deputy has killed an alligator near a Nowthen woman's house.

59-year-old Helen Zumbaum called the sheriff's office when she spotted the alligator in the grass while leaving her home. A deputy responded and a nearby petting zoo operator tried to catch the animal, which was about 3 or 4 feet long.

The state Department of Natural Resources advised the deputy that alligators are invasive species in Minnesota and should be killed. The sheriff's office says the deputy shot the animal twice, killing it.

It's unclear how it arrived in Nowthen. The petting zoo operator says it didn't belong to him.

Zumbaum says she knows the alligator was dangerous but its death made her sad.