Tag Archives: alligator

You Need a Permit to Kill an Alligator in Florida

molest gator

Alligator Warning Sign

Apparently it bears repeating, as a man was arrested this week in Palm Beach County for illegally killing an alligator. Yes, they are everywhere, but Florida has a complex wildlife management system, and you have to have a permit and tag before you can hunt for gators. If not, you can be convicted of a crime! Florida takes its wildlife regulations very seriously…

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Florida Woman gets to Keep her Pet Gator

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“Rambo” the Alligator

Lakeland resident Mary Thorn has been granted permission to keep her pet alligator, Rambo. She’s had him for more than a decade, and he lives in her home. He’s famous in Lakeland, as he’s made appearances at local events: Thorn dresses him up like Santa and in other outfits.

Thorn has had a permit for Rambo, but a recent law states that gators over 6 feet must have at least 2.5 acres of land. Thorn was given permission to keep him, with the caveat that she can no longer take him out to public events. I haven’t been able to find the specifics of the ruling, but presumably Thorn was able to grandfather him in, since she had him for so long before the rule was passed.

Watermelon Thief

alligator watermelonThe Florida Agricultural Crimes Intelligence Unit shared this photo of an alligator sneaking into a watermelon field and making off with a melon. This pic was snapped at a field in Hendry County last week. I’m glad they shared.

I didn’t even know alligators would eat melons… look how sneaky he is…

Another Man Fleeing Cops Bitten by an Alligator

frequent gatorsIt seems this is becoming an all-too common trend for Florida Man. A Lakeland man lost part of an arm to a gator bite the other day, after jumping in a lake when his mom called the cops regarding a domestic disturbance. Apparently, this lake, which was near his mom’s house, even had a sign posted warning people about gators in the water.

Don’t run from the cops, kids. We have seen several cases that were even worse than this young man who lost three-quarters of his forearm. Not worth it. For more, check it out some previous stories, here and here on Crimcourts.

Have a fun, gator-bite-free weekend!

Man Cited for Alligator Parts Scattered Around Vehicle

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photo courtesy FWC

Working to be your leading Alligator-law related blog, we bring you this story from the FWC. FWC officers stopped a man driving a truck through a wildlife management area to check for his day-use pass, only to find dismembered alligator parts stashed around his vehicle. Upon questioning, the man admitted he had recently killed the alligator without permission.

Alligators can now be legally hunted in Florida, like deer and other animals, but alligator hunts are closely regulated. Know your laws before you hunt… or fish: Florida takes wildlife management seriously.

And be sure of what you’re doing. Don’t be like Bryan Rohm. He was out hunting an alligator with his son (legally!) and thought he had killed it. He was sorely mistaken, and when he brought it in the boat, the alligator bit his thumb and jumped back into the water. He had shot the gator twice with the bang-stick, an alligator hunting device (basically it delivers a shotgun blast at point blank range), and wasn’t able to stop the thing. Alligators are badasses.

Man Throws Live Alligator through Wendy’s Drive Thru Window

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Gator at Wendy’s

This is the purest “only in Florida” case yet. A man from Jupiter was going through a Wendy’s drive-thru. He received his drink, and then grabbed a live, 3 and a half foot alligator and chucked through the open window. An FWC officer was able to corral the gator in the kitchen, and it was able to be safely returned to the wild.

joshua james mug

Joshua James

It actually took officers several months to make an arrest. The Defendant, Joshua James, was tracked via surveillance footage and vehicle tags, and he has been charged with taking a gator and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The alligator is the weapon. While such a small juvenile gator may not be lethal, it qualifies as a deadly weapon since it is capable a causing serious bodily harm (he could take off a digit!) In the meantime, we get to enjoy this guy’s mug shot!

Crimcourts continues to be the world leader on criminal related alligator news!

Florida Man Killed by Alligator when he Jumps in the Water to Hide Out from the Cops

matthew riggins

Matthew Riggins

Another day… another criminal reaps his own downfall.  Last month in Florida, Matthew Riggins was killed fleeing from cops investigating a burglary in Brevard County. His body was found floating in the Barefoot Bay Lake approximately 10 days later. An 11-foot alligator was found near his body… it was euthanized, and examination of its stomach revealed that it had caused Mr. Riggins’ demise.

matthew riggins mia

Riggins’ Missing Poster

It goes without saying that crime doesn’t pay. Riggins and an accomplice were spotted trying to break into a house (he also contacted his girlfriend before and during his attempted burglary and escape). Many times, the flight from the crime exacerbates the problem, often worse than the crime itself. Just a few weeks ago, I wrote an article titled: “Don’t Jump in the River When the Cops are Looking for You.” While that guy had to be rescued by law enforcement, it certainly can get a lot worse, as Mr. Riggins found out the hard way.

The inherently dangerous nature of criminal activity and flight from law enforcement raises the likelihood of harm occurring during the crime. See, for instance, the clowns in Garcia v. State, two of which killed themselves in the course of a robbery. The stakes are higher in Florida, not only due to the canals and other waterways that are so prevalent, but also for the nasty critters that hang out there. This is the second criminal to be killed by an alligator that we are aware of, and a third survived an attack just a couple years ago. In fact, there have been only 3 deaths caused by alligators in Florida since the start of 2007… and 2 of them were wanted men fleeing the scene of the crime. Don’t break the law, and don’t jump in alligator infested waters to try to get away!