SUNRISE, Fla. – A 110-year-old lobster will not be served as dinner at a Sunrise restaurant any time soon.
Instead, the 15-pound crustacean named Larry will be shipped off to Maine State Aquarium thanks to the efforts of an animal rescue group and several South Florida businesses.
The male lobster was originally caught and brought to Tin Fish, where the restaurant’s owner, Joe Melluso, planned on serving it up as someone's dinner if no one came forward to purchase it by Thursday.
That's when John Merritt from iRescue stepped forward.
"When there was a group that wanted to save him, I was disappointed in myself for not having that feeling myself," Melluso said.
Merritt told Local 10 News that several South Florida businesses chipped in to cover all the expenses of shipping the lobster to Maine, including Estren and Associates, La Playa Real Estate, Nu World Title and Royal Auto Brokers.
A woman from Maryland, Vicki Brewer, also chipped in for the lobsters expenses.
Amir Rossi, who owns Royal Auto Brokers, said it cost $300 to buy the lobster from Melluso.
"I asked him if he would like to contribute to saving a lobster. He was on the other end of the phone, and he didn't know whether to laugh or think that I'm crazy or what," Rossi said. "We decided to go ahead and rescue it. We put together a team of people."
The team did their part to help Larry prepare for his journey, including gathering all of the necessary supplies.
"I ran down to the beach, soaked a beach towel in salt water, had to package it, put it in my freezer for the night -- all things that I never knew when you are trying to transport a live lobster," Brooke Estren said.
So Larry was laid out on a bed of ice and wrapped in the towel before he was sent off to Maine, and for those who made the last-ditch efforts to save him, they are feeling quite proud.
"He's been around a long time," Estren said. "Hopefully, he'll keep growing and he'll enjoy his new home."
"It's something different that I'm proud of that we did," Rossi said. "How many people can actually say that they saved a lobster?"
Once Larry arrives at the Maine State Aquarium officials there will decide whether they should release him out into the wild or if he should be a part of their exhibit, where they currently have a 17-pound lobster already on display.
Magaly Madrid, who advocated for Larry with her group everydayHumane, said she is happy that the community came together to help the lobster.
"I find there are a lot of caring people out there," she said. "It means people have big hearts."