ROCKLEDGE, Fla. – State wildlife officials are threatening harsh penalties for an alligator poaching suspect.
Whoever dumped a headless and tailless gator on Timber Lakes Boulevard faces a $1,000 fine and up to three years in prison.
"It's a bad waste of natural resources. It's a waste of our natural wildlife in the state of Florida," said Officer Chad Weber, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Weber and Brevard County wildlife trapper James Dean said poachers typically take the gator's head as a trophy, the tail for its meat, and dump the rest of it.
Dean suspects that's what happened in this case before the gator was discovered Thursday.
"I have seen it before and it really disgusts me. It's totally illegal. You're going to end up going to jail," Dean said.
Right now it's mating season for gators, not hunting season.
Judging by decomposition, FWC officials believe the gator was dumped a few days ago, but it's unknown how it was taken or how it was killed.
The neighborhood is next to wetlands draining into the St. Johns River.
Nothing was seen on a home surveillance camera.
Investigators said they're looking into every possible way to find the poacher.
"I've got a very high level of confidence in FWC. They're going to find out who did this," Dean said. "Hopefully, they are caught and made an example of, where other people don't do stuff like this."