Wildlife officials arrested a Charlotte County couple for deliberately feeding an alligator. James Jones and Jackie O’Neil of Punta Gorda were caught Friday along a portion of the Peace River known as “Jim Long Lake.” The arrests came just days after a 12-foot, 1200-pound alligator killed a man—swimming in a Port Charlotte canal. Wildlife spokesman Gary Morse says feeding gators is a second degree misdemeanor, which carries up to a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail.
“The penalties are much less severe than the possible consequences. When alligators are fed, they start to associate people with feeding opportunities. And that can lead to attacks—and even fatal attacks—on human beings.”
Investigators say the alligator that recently killed a North Port man had been fed by humans. Anyone who witnesses people feeding alligators should contact The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission… or, at least, local law enforcement.
Thursday, 28 July 2005 01:00