SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Fish and Wildlife officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding a beheaded alligator that was found in Sarasota County.
Kimberly Kukich was traveling along Lorraine Road on Monday when she spotted the mutilated creature.
“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a gator. I turned around to go see the gator and when I turned around to go back, the gator was decapitated. It looked like it had been decapitated by a chainsaw,” said Kukich.
FWC officials tell WAVY sister station WFLA 8 On Your Side they do not know who did it but say whoever is responsible for cutting and taking the alligators head could face serious charges.
“It depends on how the alligator died,” said Officer Brian Norris, Public Information Officer with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
According to Officer Norris, if the alligator was killed intentionally, the suspect could face third-degree felony charges. If the animal was dead before the decapitation, the suspect could face second-degree misdemeanor charges.
Norris tells 8 On Your Side, that if an alligator is harvested legally, the person must have a proper hunting permit and is harvesting according to those rules. Additionally, the permit holder can possess the animal’s head as well as the rest of the alligator.
“In this case it appears that the alligator was either hit by a vehicle or killed illegally. Therefore, the removal of the head and possession of it would not be legal,” said Norris.
Anyone with information on this case is asked to call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline at 1-888-404-3922.