PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Florida wildlife officers have charged a Port St. Lucie man after allegedly watching him feed hot dogs to alligators in his back yard.
Officers went to Matthew P. Bucci’s neighborhood earlier this week after residents complained about the animals. The officers say they saw the 39-year-old walk to the canal behind his home, prop open a back gate and shake several hot dogs out of a bag.
Shortly afterward, a 6-foot gator allegedly crawled into Bucci’s back yard.
Florida law prohibits the feeding of alligators, because it desensitizes the animals to humans and encourages their search for food beyond natural habitats.
The animal was captured and euthanized. State policy requires the killing of any nuisance gators larger than four feet long.