MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A large alligator was found tied to a tree in a neighborhood in Miami-Dade County Thursday morning.
The 9-foot, 2-inch gator was bound to the tree by rope near Sunset Drive and 117th Avenue.
The alligator's mouth was shut improperly with duct tape.
Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the improper taping of the alligator injured the animal.
The FWC was able to remove the alligator and relocate it to a gator farm where it will be released into the wild after it recovers from its injuries.
Witnesses told Local 10 News that the gator was aggressive and fearful of humans from the start.
"You got to be aware of them because they will get you, and this one is pretty big," a man, identified only as Barry, said.
Officials are investigating who may have trapped the alligator. The illegal trapping of an alligator is a crime and violators may be prosecuted if caught.
"That one really surprised me because either he was out here sunbathing or they actually went inside the lake and caught him, and you got to be crazy for that," Barry said.
Residents in the area have complained about alligators before, but the FWC claims they can only catch them once they become a nuisance.
"It's crazy. They should've left the gator alone," Eric Alonso, who lives in the area, said. "The gator wasn't doing anything crazy. It was just living its life in the lake."
The FWC advises residents to stay away from handling an alligator without permission. Those with concerns about an alligator are urged to call the commission's nuisance alligator hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR.