FWC cites Port St. Lucie man for feeding alligators
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459
After receiving complaints from residents about the
illegal feeding of alligators, officers with the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) responded to a Port St.
Lucie neighborhood this week.
It didn't take long for officers to recognize a
potentially dangerous situation. Officers observed a couple walking
out to the canal behind their home, where two alligators were
approaching their dock. The man propped open a back gate, allowing
access to the backyard.
The man went into the house and emerged with a
plastic bag. With a few shakes of the bag, an alligator -
approximately 6 feet long - entered the backyard. When the man
noticed the officer watching him, he chased the alligator out of
the backyard and then closed the gate.
Officers entered the backyard and observed numerous
hot dog pieces scattered on the ground. In addition, they found a
plastic bag with a package of hot dogs inside.
Matthew P. Bucci (DOB 08/10/75) of Port St. Lucie
was cited for feeding alligators, a misdemeanor. His wife was given
a warning for the same offense.
The alligator was removed and euthanized, per the
FWC's nuisance alligator program policy.
Feeding alligators not only is illegal, it can
result in their becoming a nuisance, as happened in this case. In
addition, when fed, alligators learn to associate humans with food.
Consequently, the alligator can become a nuisance, and nuisance
alligators greater than 4 feet long are destroyed.
To report a nuisance alligator, call 866-FWC-GATOR