Update: DNR has charged two Ridgeland men with the harassment of wildlife after an investigation prompted by calls from concerned citizens.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is investigating a reported incident of alligator abuse in Beaufort County, state officials confirmed Friday.
Beaufort County officers from DNR’s Law Enforcement Division are investigating reports that a group of teenagers abused a baby alligator and poured beer down its throat.
The incident, recorded on Snapchat and then screenshot and posted on Facebook, was reported to DNR by multiple concerned citizens Thursday. The images were posted on Snapchat Wednesday.
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The Facebook post, which includes eight saved Snapchat photos, depicts the teens holding the baby alligator by the neck, pouring beer down its throat, blowing smoke into its mouth and drinking beer poured down the animal’s tail.
As of 11 a.m. Friday, the Facebook post had been shared nearly 200 times and received more than 100 comments.
Lindsey Lang, who posted the photos on Facebook, has received some backlash but said she knows she did the right thing.
In South Carolina, it is against the law to feed an alligator or entice it with food. Violators could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined up to $200 or imprisoned for up to 30 days.
It is also against the law for a person to hunt or take an alligator without a permit. According to the state’s law, “take” means to harass, hunt, capture, kill or attempt to harass, hunt, capture or kill wildlife. Violators convicted of the misdemeanor could be fined between $500 and $2,500 dollars and imprisoned for up to 30 days.
In instances such as the Snapchat posting, DNR asks the public to submit a non-emergency criminal activity tip through the new “SCDNR Tips” app, which can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play, or by calling the Operation Game Theft hotline at 1-800-922-5431.
“... It is fine to call OGT with questions or if you see something and aren’t sure about it — not necessarily just to report a certain violation or problem,” Lucas said in an email. “We are happy to answer those questions anytime.”
DNR continues its investigation of the incident in Beaufort County, state officials confirmed Friday.