Authorities investigate Snapchat video of man dragging 8-foot gator from ATV

Posted at 8:02 AM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 08:02:05-04

VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL (WFTV/CNN) - Wildlife officials in Florida are investigating a video that appears to show a man dragging an alligator from an ATV.

The Snapchat video now at the center of a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigation taken near U.S. 1 by the county line, appears to show the man tying up an alligator to the back of his ATV and then dragging it back and forth across the road.

"They are dangerous animals and it could have turned out bad with the gentlemen being bitten and also bringing harm to the animal," said Chad Webber, a Florida Wildlife Conservation officer.

The video has drawn comparisons to the one seen last December of three men dragging a shark behind their boat off the Florida coast. It took about a month for Florida wildlife officials to identify the men in the video and charge them.

"Sometimes it is tough to identify these people," Webber said.

The FWC said it received a tip immediately on the gator incident and already talked to the man in the video.

But while FWC officials said the intent to harm the shark in last summer's video appeared clear to them, they tell me the intent behind the gator incident is not so clear.

That intent could determine what, if any charges the man faces.

Volusia County residents who watched the video could barely stomach it.

"There's no justification for it at all," said Dan Friend. "We have gators. There's a lot of them here in Florida. People shouldn't be messing with these animals. Absolutely, I agree, and I was appalled to see the video."

The FWC said once it finishes its investigation, it may send the case over to the state attorney's office for possible charges.

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