Alligator’s death in Douglas draws social media ire

It is against Georgia law to shoot alligators outside of hunting season.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 2:55 PM EDT
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DOUGLAS, Ga. (WALB) - Many in Douglas were outraged Friday after pictures surfaced on social media of an alligator that had been shot in the head.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received a call about an injured 8-and-a-half-foot alligator on Hebron Church Road.

Georgia is home to an estimated 200,000 alligators, so it’s not uncommon for people who live in the Peach State to have run-ins with them. However, it’s a crime to shoot an alligator in Georgia outside of hunting season.

Game Warden Luke Rabun was one of the responding officers at the scene. He said he initially received a text message about an alligator that was injured but still breathing.

“I later received another phone call from an individual that stated that the alligator was hit, it had damages around its neck area. Which it was still alive at that time as well,” Rabun said.

Georgia DNR officials now believe someone saw the injured gator after it had been struck by a vehicle, and shot it, to put it out of its misery.

Experts said getting close to a gator when it’s out of the water is a bad idea.

“If there is a nuisance alligator in that area, which we consider four feet or larger is what we consider a nuisance alligator, always reach out to us or the Department of Game Management and we can have a nuisance trapper remove the alligator.”

From a distance, an alligator in the road can look like a tire tread or debris, but they’re often big enough to cause a vehicle to overturn. It’s an animal you do have to look out for while driving in South Georgia.

“Any area that holds water in Coffee County can possibly hold alligators in it. There is a large pond that was nearby, well multiple large ponds, and also the Scintilla River across the church road, close to that area,” Rabun said.