Photos posted on social media of a young alligator being forced to drink beer have resulted in two South Carolina men being charged with “the harassment of an alligator,” says the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
State officials announced the charges late Friday, after an investigation led them to two men in Ridgeland, S.C., who confessed to being involved in the incident. The charge is a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $300, officials said.
The half dozen photos uploaded on SnapChat depicted men holding open the mouth of an 18-to-20 inch alligator, and pouring a can of beer into it. One photo shows a man blowing smoke from his mouth into the alligator’s mouth, “shotgun” style.
Joseph Andrew Floyd Jr., 20, and Zachary Lloyd Brown, 21, admitted to officers that they picked up the alligator, after they saw it crossing a dirt road in Jasper County on May 24, investigators said. They said they poured beer into the animal’s mouth and took photos, officials said. Floyd told investigators they then released the alligator and watched it swim away in a nearby pond.
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“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,” said the state’s Alligator Program Coordinator Jay Butfiloski.
Kyndel McConchie of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources said they were alerted to the incident by people who saw the photos on social media. “Other people saw it, got angry and they did screen shots of the images,” said McConchie.
Among the angry people was a South Carolina woman who claimed to know the suspects. She posted on Facebook that they should be ashamed of themselves.
“It almost brought me to tears,” she posted. “People torturing a baby gator, pouring beer in its mouth, blowing smoke in its mouth, just being plain cruel....It literally made me sick to my stomach.”