Florida man arrested for shooting alligator that attacked his son

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BUSHNELL, Fla. — A Florida man was arrested after he shot and killed an alligator that threatened his horses and attacked his stepson, WFLA reports.

Reginald Blanton, 74, says he shot the gator when he saw it moving closer to his horses. When his 58-year-old stepson Jack Hildreth arrived to help move the body, the animal lunged at him and bit his leg.

Blanton said he was just protecting his animals, but the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged him with unlawfully killing a alligator without a permit.

According to the animal cruelty statute in Florida, anyone who “unnecessarily mutilates or kills any animal commits animal cruelty and receives a misdemeanor of the first degree which is punishable by up to a year in jail.”

With the law against him, Blanton may have an uphill battle.

“Our officers obviously thought there was enough evidence to go ahead with a misdemeanor charge of illegal take of alligator,” said FWC spokesman Rob Klepper.