Selected Articles from our
The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Winter 2008 Issue
Alligators: Victims or Criminals?
Letter by Chris Arenella, of Florida and New York. Chris is a friend of
both dogs and wildlife. We all read about three dogs who were trapped in a
pond with an alligator. Chris’s excellent letter was published in the
Regarding Monday’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel story by reporter Andy Reid
on the gator killing of a dog trapped in pond weeds, it is obvious that
there are five victims involved in this incident.
The first victim is the dog that was killed.
The second victim is the dog that ran away and may have died of shock
The third victim is the dog that was pulled from the pond so traumatized
that he bit his rescuer, for which there is a chance that he will be killed.
The fourth victim is the caring person who helped rescue the dog.
The fifth victim is the alligator that saw the dog as a way to feed
himself, because now it is proposed that he also will be killed.
This heart-wrenching event could have been avoided if, since the three
dogs are believed to be strays, people would spay and neuter their animals
as well as walk them on a leash. Pet owners need to wake up and start taking
responsibility so that this kind of tragic occurrence does not continue to
Thanks to Kathy Andrews, we were made aware of the SC bill to allow
hunting of alligators all year long.
Please write your own letter. Here is a C.A.S.H. model about to be sent
The Honorable William Clyburn
P.O. Box 11867
Columbia, SC 29211
Dear Representative Clyburn:
We wish to call your attention to a dangerous bill that is making its
way through the state legislature. Bill S.452 has passed the House
Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee and will
likely be heard by the entire House of Representatives. If passed into law,
this bill would authorize the Department of Natural Resources to establish a
program for hunting Alligator mississippiensis, the American Alligator, to
create recreational opportunities for the state’s hunters. S.452 would
authorize the DNR to allow alligators to be hunted at any time of the year,
on any area (including wildlife preserves and sanctuaries) as part of an
“alligator control program.” On behalf of our members and supporters in
South Carolina, we urge you to oppose S.452 when it comes for a vote before
the full House, as hunting alligators is not in the best interests of the
species or the people of South Carolina.
According to the DNR: “The American alligator is currently listed as
federally threatened by similarity of appearance to the American crocodile
and as a species in need of management in South Carolina.” (http://www.dnr.sc.gov/cwcs/pdf/AmericanAlligator.pdf)
While alligator populations are not endangered in the state, their
similarity in appearance to the endangered American Crocodile could cause
members of that species to mistakenly be killed. As South Carolina is not in
the normal range for American Crocodiles, the presence of crocodiles in the
state would be rare and would be a reasonable cause for protection.
Currently, the DNR has the authority to deal with alligators that pose
a threat to property or human safety. As alligator attacks are exceedingly
rare in the state, the current form of alligator control is adequate and
effective in addressing the reasonable concerns of the state’s populace. The
general public of South Carolina will derive no benefit from an open
alligator hunting season. Additionally, a hunting season could deprive the
citizens of the state as well as tourists to South Carolina recreational
opportunities to observe the species at wildlife sanctuaries and nature
preserves, should they be closed to public access due to alligator hunting.
It is neither responsible nor reasonable for the DNR to set a hunting season
for Alligator mississippiensis as additional management of the species is
Rather than managing the state’s wildlife for the benefit of the fewer
than five percent of the state’s population that hunts for recreation,
wildlife should be preserved and protected for the good of the species and
the public who wishes to peacefully observe this magnificent species in its
natural habitat. On behalf of our members and supporters, as well as the
people of South Carolina who wish for American Alligators to be protected in
the state rather than exploited, we urge you to oppose S.452when it comes
for a vote before the House of Representatives.
No southern animal is as charismatic as the alligator. Alligators are a
prime species for wildlife watching, drawing millions of people to the
Everglades and other parts of the southern US to see the large adults as
well as the curious babies. Certainly they have a value beyond their skin
and “sport.” .