May 19 2014

Alligator Shot on Folly, Causes Controversy

Beachgoers got quite a shock last week when they ran across a 10 foot alligator on Folly Beach. While alligators aren’t exactly common beach companions, it has been known to happen in other locations. Usually, wildlife personnel are called in to remove the animal and relocate the gator elsewhere. That’s not what happened this time, and it’s caused quite a bit of controversy in now this event was handled. This time, the alligator was shot point blank in front of children.

About 3 o’clock on Wednesday, May 14th, the alligator washed up on shore near 5th and 6th streets. People flocked to the scene to see the strange event, officials were attempting to capture the animal, and when the Department of Natural Resources’ representative showed up, most were relieved that the animal was going to be removed. However, instead of removing the animal peacefully, the contractor pulled out a pistol and shot the gator right on the beach.Understandably distraught, parents were outraged by this event and tried to cover their children’s eyes.

Was there some other way that DNR could have handled the gator encroachment without destroying the animal? Could it have been removed and then killed without having children bear witness to the event? Surely, there could have been an alternative to shooting the poor creature on the beach in front of innocent children who probably have never seen an animal die in that manner.

Others have made statements that the alligator was sick, which was apparently obvious in its eyes. Otherwise, why would an alligator show up on the shores of Folly Beach? Although officials were on the scene in an attempt to catch the alligator, the DNR representative determined the animal was too sick to be moved and decided in that moment that death was the best option- in front of children with no discretion, and no warning. Just pull out the gun, point, and shoot.

It is the opinion of this blogger that this was extremely poor judgment and should have been handled in a more discrete manner. Hopefully, if and when this happens in the future, people will be better trained and more prepared to handle something that could potentially cause emotional trauma to witnesses who simply aren’t prepared for either seeing such a large strange animal show up on their vacation (or in their back yard!), or are passionate about wildlife and its survival.

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