Florida Alligator Eats Mans Hand . . . Man Charged With Feeding Alligators

This would have seemed a good case for prosecutorial discretion. Wallace Weatherholt, 63, was operating a tour boat when he allegedly dangled a fish in the water to feed the alligators and give his passengers a good picture. The alligator took the fish . . . and his right hand. It was a stupid and illegal act if true. However, I would put the act of having one’s hand bitten off by a nine-foot alligator as sufficient punishment without the need to add a second-degree misdemeanor.

Florida Fish and Wildlife authorities concluded that Weatherbolt was operating a tour for Captain Doug’s Small Airport Tours in Everglades City for an Indiana family when the attack occurred when he dangled the fish.

Even after his Captain Hook moment, Weatherbolt was able to steer the boat back to the docks — no small feat.

I understand the need to deter this type of crime. However, anyone seeing Weatherbolt around the docks is likely to be deterred from following suit. What do you think?

Source: Daily News

37 thoughts on “Florida Alligator Eats Mans Hand . . . Man Charged With Feeding Alligators”

  1. >”I understand the need to deter this type of crime.”-JT <

    Crime? REALLY? Stuipdity, perhaps; reckless, almost certainly, but 'criminal'? Come on. Get real, here. Oh wait. It IS Florida. Ok. Never mind. Makes sense after all.

  2. It confuses city folk to discuss these matters.

    Let’s make it easy.

    In Overpopulated, polluted, corrupt, City X, it is against the law to put your hand inside the mysterious depths of an ATM machine.

    Joe Dweller puts his hand inside an ATM machine just to excite some geeks.

    His hand is deposited in the nightly pile of ins, alongside the pile of outs.

    Cops find out and beef him for extending beyond the civil borders, a misdemeanor.

    The DA, running for office again, because she lost the dog-catcher election, decides to go “nukular”.

    End of fantasy.

  3. Losing a hand to an alligator, local news. Being prosecuted for losing a hand to an alligator, statewide news, at least. The point being, don’t feed the alligators!

  4. Too bad this man didn’t have a cat; would have saved him some grief. They teach you not to dangle food in front of a SMALL animal, let alone an alligator for crying out loud!

    But I’m with Nal. I would have thought the prosecutors had better things to do! I sincerely hope this happened ins a REALLY small county!

  5. This begs the question
    “What is the purpose of such a prosecution?”

    If it is to discourage him from doing it again, it would seem unnecessary.
    If it is to discourage others from doing the same . ditto.

    I get the feeling that this is unreasoning bureaucratic retribution for breaking the letter of the law.
    I suspect that the law envisaged ‘feeding’ as throwing lumps of flesh.
    The problem is one of alligators associating humans with food – so this incident was pushing that association to the ultimate.

    On the other hand, ( completely unintentional usage!I I swear it. Really!) I understand that humans are classified as “unfit for consumption” due to the levels of toxins, etc in our bodies. So maybe the feeding of human flesh – even if inadvertently – should be treated as a very serious wildlife protection issue.

    1. Nah, put a little Barbecue sauce on a hand, and it tastes just like chicken to a gator….. I frequent many of the nature preserves near my house in So. Florida, and I’ve seen Gators eat many things…. Birds, Turtles, Snakes, smaller gators, Racoons & Possums, to name a few. They’re not too choosey & and they’re very opportunistic. During breeding season for the many birds here in Florida, they wait under birds nests for the chicks to fall out of the trees. This Bozo should have known better.

  6. Nal,

    You are correct….. But here they caught him red handed so to speak….

  7. I see your reasoning, but for the sake of argument, are you suggesting that discretion would encompass recognizing amputation of a body part as adequate punishment in the eyes of the state?

    I’d be happy for the court to consider the man as now being disabled, and to show some leniency in that regard, but I really do not think the state should go around interpreting being disabled as “punishment.” That’s actually scary, speaking as a disabled person.

  8. This would have seemed a good case for prosecutorial discretion

    I understand the need to deter this type of crime. However, anyone seeing Weatherbolt around the docks is likely to be deterred from following suit.

    What do you think?

    Definitely a missed opportunity for discretion.

    Even if the prosecutor is angling for reelection, if that is the way it is done there, the voters are going to notice some insensitivity.

    It seems to me to involve a prosecutor that has become a sociopath, hopefully only temporarily.

  9. He should have tried marshmallows mainly because you have to throw them in the water. Of course I wouldn’t know anything about that as I have never witnessed anybody breaking the law by giving alligators something they really love to eat … like marshmallows.

  10. The law is the law….. They say…. I’d like this cased tried to a jury….. Sometimes they have more sense…..it’s a rarity….. But it happens…..

  11. I’m laughing my butt off….. I live in Florida, and the first things you learn here are, in general. Number One, anywhere that there’s water in Florida, there can be an ALLIGATOR…… Number Two, don’t feed the Alligators…. it causes them to loose their fear of humans.

  12. I agree the man has suffered enough, the alligator however should suffer some punishments for “biting the hand that feeds it”

  13. I’ve taken these tours twice. There aren’t any mensa members captaining these craft. I agree w/ the discretion, chrissake he lost his hand. That seems like classic natural consequences to me..the best type of consequences.

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