Reward increases to $6,500 for information on alligator found with eyes, mouth taped shut

Animal Legal Defense offers $5,000

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Animal Legal Defense has joined Gatorland offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people who duct taped an alligator’s mouth and eyes shut in Seminole County.

The incident happened last month when Barbara and Jack Thornton found the bound gator near the Wekiwa River in Seminole County. They called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the neighborhood also offered up a $500 reward for information. Gatorland is also offering a $1,000 reward. Now, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has added $5,000 to the reward money.

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Florida wildlife officials are investigating a possible connection between this incident and two other incidents involving bound alligators in the area.

“Wild animals are protected under the law. This is a very serious crime, all the more urgent because it may be part of a larger pattern of cruelty and animal cruelty can be an indicator of violence and other crimes against people as well,” Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells said in a statement. “We thank the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for their swift action in this case and for taking this incident — and the other possibly related incidents — seriously.”

It’s a third-degree felony to intentionally injure, kill, possess or capture an alligator.

Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922.