Two men are being charged for the harassment of an alligator after photos were posted online showing the men pouring beer into the reptile’s mouth, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources began investigating the case after receiving multiple emails and messages from concerned citizens.
Joseph Andrew Floyd Jr., 20, and Zachary Lloyd Brown, 21, admitted to officers that they picked up the alligator after they saw it crossing the road, according to SCDNR. The men then admitted to pouring beer into the animal’s mouth, taking photos and posting them on social media. Floyd Jr. told authorities they released the alligator and watched it swim away in a nearby pond.
"Wildlife conservation is a big part of what SCDNR officers do each day," SCDNR 1st Sgt. Earl Pope said. "This case is a good example of why we strive to educate people about wildlife in hopes that they will respect it."
SCDNR is filing the misdemeanor charge of harassing wildlife through the state's alligator management legislation. The charge comes with a maximum fine of $300. The judge who oversees the case in court will determine the men's final punishment.
There is federal protection in place to ensure alligators are legally harvested for international trade, but in this case, no federal protection applies.
"Alligators are protected under state law and even federal law where they are still listed as threatened solely due to their similarity of appearance to other endangered crocodilians worldwide," SCDNR Alligator Program Coordinator Jay Butfiloski added.