The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is working to determine if charges will be filed against men who appear in a video to step on an alligator and pick it up by its neck.
That video was recorded shortly before one man, identified as Robby Stratton, brought the alligator into a convenience store in Jacksonville Heights.
The FWC came to Action News Jax for the video after it was deleted online.
Action News Jax Courtney Cole showed it to a family for the first time on Monday -- and they were shocked.
Have you seen this video of a man running around a Jacksonville convenience store with an alligator? The FWC is now taking a closer look at a 2nd video: https://t.co/wfsXbPxbBF --> It appears to show what happened before the alligator was brought into the store @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/B5Ax7XpLCG— Courtney Cole (@CourtneyANJax) July 30, 2018
In the video you can see what appears to be a man's foot on top of the alligator's head.
“That to me is considered animal cruelty, because he’s putting the gator in harm. Swinging him by his neck and stepping on his head is putting the gator in harm,” Jason Phipps told Action News Jax.
The Alligator Rules booklet put together by the FWC says in part:
"It is unlawful to intentionally kill, injure, possess or capture or attempt to kill, injure or capture an alligator, or the eggs--unless given permission by the FWC."
It also states that anyone who violates this law is guilty of a third-degree felony, which means Stratton and the other people in this video could face possible jail time or a pretty hefty fine.
In the second video, another man can be seen holding the gator by it's neck and holding it up in the air. It also appears that someone is stepping on the alligator. The video snapshot is a bit grainy, so I've circled it in red for you. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/iSI4ssbbeL— Courtney Cole (@CourtneyANJax) July 30, 2018
"I think he should go to jail. That’s animal neglect. That’s sad,” said Ashley Kelley.
“Jail is a little too harsh, he should at least get fined,” Phipps said.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened in our area.
In 2014, two teenage girls from Orange Park were arrested after lighting a tortoise on fire and crushing it to death. They faced animal cruelty charges.
#RightNow the FWC is investigating. In fact, in the last 30 minutes, @ActionNewsJax sent them the most recent video for their investigation. On CBS 47 at 5:00, I'm digging deeper to find out what the legal penalties could be for this type of behavior. pic.twitter.com/an54aPtFL2— Courtney Cole (@CourtneyANJax) July 30, 2018
In 2016, three teens in Fernandina Beach were charged with animal cruelty after a video was released of them throwing a rabbit around the room.
Action News Jax spoke to Stratton on Monday, and he told me he wasn’t arrested or taken into custody following the incident.
The spokeswoman for the FWC said it could be weeks before the investigation is completed.
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