Alligators, crocodile found in Jacksonville residence

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Alligators, crocodile found in Jacksonville residence

10/3/08

One Jacksonville, Florida man has been arrested, and a warrant was issued for a second suspect for keeping four alligators and a crocodile at their Bayard residence.

An anonymous tip led Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators to the back yard of Robert S. Hayes, 55, (DOB 5/27/1953) and Scott Hayes, 26 (DOB 3/4/1982).

"When we responded to the residence, there were alligators and a crocodile in a concrete fish pond with a 3-foot fence around it," said FWC Investigator Kevin Larson.

The crocodile was identified as a New Guinea crocodile, which is not a native species in Florida.

Neither man had permits to possess the reptiles. Larson, along with FWC officers Alex Obritis and J.J. Thurne, caught the four alligators and the crocodile. According to Larson, both men claimed they didn't know how the alligators got into the pond.

"Mr. Hayes did tell us they fed the reptiles live chickens," Larson said. "They would put corn around the pond and then put a chicken in the enclosure to eat the corn. The gators and crocodile would then eat the chicken."

Additional information developed during the investigation indicated the alligators were from the wild, and the crocodile may have been stolen from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm, according to FWC investigators.

Larson met David Drysdale, the owner of the alligator farm, who explained that if the animal had come from the alligator farm, its staff could identify it. The value of the crocodile was estimated at about $2,500.

"The crocodile was positively identified as belonging to the farm," Larson said.

The crocodile was returned to the alligator farm, where the alligators were also delivered for safekeeping.

Robert Hayes was arrested Sept. 23 and charged with four misdemeanor counts of possession of an American alligator and one felony charge of possessing a crocodile.

Scott Hayes is still at large. The warrant issued for his arrest lists the same five charges.

The investigation into the theft of the crocodile is ongoing.

"Working closely with concerned and knowledgeable citizens frequently leads to more successful resolution of cases," said. Capt. Marty Redmond, FWC investigations supervisor.

Anyone with information about this case or other wildlife law violations is encouraged to call 1-888-404-FWCC (3922). Wildlife law violations also can be reported online at MyFWC.com/law/Alert/. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward if the information results in an arrest.


Media Contact:
Karen Parker (386) 758-0525
 


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