JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two men arrested a few days after video surfaced on the internet showing a gator being carried through a Jacksonville convenience store went before a judge Thursday on three misdemeanor charges.
According to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman, Robert Timothy Barr, 28, and Kevin Scott Keene, 23, both of Jacksonville, were charged with illegal possession of an alligator, illegal exhibition of dangerous wildlife and cruelty to animals. The two are due back in court Aug. 16.
Video posted online shows a man walking through a Jacksonville Heights convenience store holding a gator under his right arm. He walked toward the counter, asking, “Ya’ll ain't out of beer are you?”
The two face limited jail time and about $15,000 in fines, which former alligator trapper Bob Shumaker said is not enough punishment for what they did.
"I think they should have gone harder on these guys because they are not showing them that they can really get in trouble," Shumaker said. "I thought it should have been a felony, myself."
Shumaker said the men put themselves and everyone in the store in danger. He said smaller, younger alligators like the one they captured have sharper teeth than the older larger gators, and they are very agile.
"Seven-foot and under are very, very quick," Shumaker said. "They can jump up very quick. They can get a hold of your quick."
Barr has started a GoFundMe page asking the public for money to help him raise money for court fees. Shumaker doesn't think the prank was funny or that the public should offer him any support.
"He got out of this, what's going to stop him from getting another one the next time he gets drunk?" he said.
Barr and Keen told the FWC that the alligator was released, but officers were unable to confirm that.
FWC said officers are still attempting to identify the others shown in the video. Anyone with information is asked to call FWC at 1-888-404-3922.