Two men have landed in hot water after pictures emerged on social media showing them force-feeding a baby alligator beer and blowing smoke into its mouth.
Joseph Andrew Jr., 20, and Zachary Lloyd Brown, 21, both from Ridgeland, South Carolina, were walking down a dirt road near the city of Hardeeville when they spotted a baby alligator crossing the road. In a cruel move, the two men quickly grabbed the young animal, and along with other brutal acts, poured beer down its throat, before releasing it and watching it swim away for dear life.
They then stupidly posted the photos (which they had taken while torturing the animal) on social media.
The very next day, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) started receiving complaints from netizens who viewed the horrific images.
In one of the photos, the alligator’s neck is being squeezed by one man while the other dribbles beer into its open mouth. In another photo, a hand was seen viciously throttling the reptile as another hand jammed the beer can into its mouth. The photo was labeled, “Gator shotgun.”
The wildlife conservation organization investigated the incident and, after the duo admitted their offense, charged them with a maximum fine of $300 along with a misdemeanor for harassing a protected species.
“Wildlife conservation is a big part of what SCDNR officers do each day,” said First Sergeant Earl Pope of the organization.
The department also added there is federal protection in place to legally harvest alligators for international trade. However, in this case, no such protection applies.
“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,” SCDNR Alligator Program Coordinator Jay Butfiloski said.
After the photos went viral, internet users condemned the behavior of the two grown men and called on SCDNR to ensure they are punished.
@SCDNR Good. Throw the book at these idiots. Wildlife has enough dangers in a human run world. This harrassment is uncalled for.— Strange Brew 🦋🌹🌈 (@EyeglassChain) May 27, 2017
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters