Alligators: Victims or Criminals?

Letter by Chris Arenella, of Florida and New York. Chris is a friend of both dogs and wildlife. We all read about three dogs who were trapped in a pond with an alligator. Chris’s excellent letter was published in the Sun-Sentinel.

Regarding Monday’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel story by reporter Andy Reid on the gator killing of a dog trapped in pond weeds, it is obvious that there are five victims involved in this incident.

The first victim is the dog that was killed.

The second victim is the dog that ran away and may have died of shock alone.

The third victim is the dog that was pulled from the pond so traumatized that he bit his rescuer, for which there is a chance that he will be killed.

The fourth victim is the caring person who helped rescue the dog.

The fifth victim is the alligator that saw the dog as a way to feed himself, because now it is proposed that he also will be killed.

This heart-wrenching event could have been avoided if, since the three dogs are believed to be strays, people would spay and neuter their animals as well as walk them on a leash. Pet owners need to wake up and start taking responsibility so that this kind of tragic occurrence does not continue to happen.

Thanks to Kathy Andrews, we were made aware of the SC bill to allow hunting of alligators all year long.

Please write your own letter. Here is a C.A.S.H. model about to be sent out.

The Honorable William Clyburn
P.O. Box 11867
Columbia, SC 29211

Dear Representative Clyburn:

We wish to call your attention to a dangerous bill that is making its way through the state legislature. Bill S.452 has passed the House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee and will likely be heard by the entire House of Representatives. If passed into law, this bill would authorize the Department of Natural Resources to establish a program for hunting Alligator mississippiensis, the American Alligator, to create recreational opportunities for the state’s hunters. S.452 would authorize the DNR to allow alligators to be hunted at any time of the year, on any area (including wildlife preserves and sanctuaries) as part of an “alligator control program.” On behalf of our members and supporters in South Carolina, we urge you to oppose S.452 when it comes for a vote before the full House, as hunting alligators is not in the best interests of the species or the people of South Carolina.

According to the DNR: “The American alligator is currently listed as federally threatened by similarity of appearance to the American crocodile and as a species in need of management in South Carolina.” (  While alligator populations are not endangered in the state, their similarity in appearance to the endangered American Crocodile could cause members of that species to mistakenly be killed. As South Carolina is not in the normal range for American Crocodiles, the presence of crocodiles in the state would be rare and would be a reasonable cause for protection.

Currently, the DNR has the authority to deal with alligators that pose a threat to property or human safety. As alligator attacks are exceedingly rare in the state, the current form of alligator control is adequate and effective in addressing the reasonable concerns of the state’s populace. The general public of South Carolina will derive no benefit from an open alligator hunting season. Additionally, a hunting season could deprive the citizens of the state as well as tourists to South Carolina recreational opportunities to observe the species at wildlife sanctuaries and nature preserves, should they be closed to public access due to alligator hunting. It is neither responsible nor reasonable for the DNR to set a hunting season for Alligator mississippiensis as additional management of the species is not needed.

Rather than managing the state’s wildlife for the benefit of the fewer than five percent of the state’s population that hunts for recreation, wildlife should be preserved and protected for the good of the species and the public who wishes to peacefully observe this magnificent species in its natural habitat. On behalf of our members and supporters, as well as the people of South Carolina who wish for American Alligators to be protected in the state rather than exploited, we urge you to oppose S.452when it comes for a vote before the House of Representatives.

Joe Miele

Editor’s Note:

No southern animal is as charismatic as the alligator. Alligators are a prime species for wildlife watching, drawing millions of people to the Everglades and other parts of the southern US to see the large adults as well as the curious babies. Certainly they have a value beyond their skin and “sport.” .


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561