A decapitated alligator was discovered along a Florida highway.
After an alligator was discovered decapitated on the side of a Florida road on Wednesday, wildlife officials initiated a criminal investigation.
According to ABC 7, a local couple saw the 10-foot alligator with its head hacked off off State Road 62 in Parrish, Manatee County, with its body partially deteriorated.
Heather Morneau, the woman who reported the event to authorities, told Fox 13 that she and her husband were perplexed by the event, stating, “We assumed the worst.” Someone had apparently hacked off its head. We were attempting to determine whether or not someone would be willing to do so.”
She added the dead animal’s body appeared to have “bullet holes,” before calling the scenario “awful” and something she thought the authorities should be aware of.
After being notified to the alligator by worried locals, officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) arrived on the site.
The commission subsequently initiated an investigation into the incident, as it is prohibited in Florida to kill an alligator without a valid license.
Although Florida conducts a statewide alligator harvest every year from August 15 to November 1, only individuals with the necessary permit are allowed to kill alligators, and anyone who breaks the law might face a third-degree crime.
According to SNN news, discarding debris weighing more than 15 pounds is also a first-degree crime, and possessing alligator parts without a permit is also illegal.
According to a representative for the commission, whether the alligator was killed without a license or just taken as a trophy is unimportant, as both are illegal under state law.
The discovery of a beheaded alligator on the side of a Florida road is not the first; one was spotted in nearby Sarasota in October of this year.
Kimberly Kukich, who discovered the alligator, told CBS 4 that the animal’s head appeared to have been severed by a chainsaw, writing on Facebook: “I’m horrified to see this. I came to a halt because I mistook it for a giant gator. It became out that the gator had been decapitated.”
The FWC looked into the incident as well, and set up a hotline for anyone to call with any information. This is a condensed version of the information.