In the early morning hours of July 3, 2015, the Orange County Police in Texas were called to Burkart's Marina near the Louisiana state line after a man, Tommie Woodward, 28, was killed by an alligator. A witness and marina employee, Michelle Wright, said she told Woodward:
"Please do not go swimming, there's a bigger alligator out here. Just please stay out of the water".
She said the next thing she heard was a woman screaming:
"An alligator's got him".
Orange County Justice of the Peace, Rodney Price told CNN affiliate KFDM that Woodward ignored verbal warnings, and he disregarded a posted "NO SWIMMING ALLIGATORS" sign and seemed to mock the deadly creatures before going in the water. "Someone shouted a warning, and he said, '**** the alligators' and jumped in the water and almost immediately yelled for help", Price said.
Some days later, Kent Robnett, illegally shot and killed an alligator in the same general area. A lot of controversy has been stirred up by the fact that this alligator attack was provoked by Woodward, and another man illegally killed the alligator. Kent Robnett, the man who shot and killed the alligator, was not even charged; his excuse for killing the alligator - which is very questionable - was that he was concerned about his family.
It's obvious that the people who are supposed to be protecting alligators are defaulting at their job. Kent Robnett, the fanatic with the gun who shot the alligator, should be held accountable for his crime; people like him threaten any kind of peaceful coexistence between people and wild animals.
Craig Hunter, law enforcement director for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, made it clear that the alligator would have to be killed. It was bad enough that someone was allowed to illegally kill an alligator, but it was made worse when the so-called "authorities" were also set on killing this alligator! What good can be said about these people who so carelessly judge who's to live and who's to die?
Instead of putting down every wild animal involved in attacks on people, the authorities should
use a more reasonable and rehabilitative method of operation where many of the animals involved are "live-trapped" and taken to suitable habitats in remote areas away from people. Wild animals vary so much in disposition and temperament that they should never be treated the same. There are a lot of mitigating circumstances where animals change under different conditions.
Down in Texas, the word was out to kill the alligator that had attacked Woodward. This kind of "an eye for an eye" approach was treating the alligator like it was some kind of a "serial killer" that was completely incurable of its taste for human flesh! The truth is, alligators will eat any kind of meat, they are not picky, and they do not become addicted to one kind of food!
A primitive creature was being confronted with modern deadly firearms that maim and kill. People were pitting their wits against an animal that only wanted to be left alone. This alligator was not given a fighting chance, and there was never any other plan except to kill it!
What began as a stupid move by one man evolved into something a lot more complex. Alligators cannot be placed on the same intelligence level as people, and they are not accountable to anybody but themselves. People on the other hand, are equipped with enough intelligence to be responsible not only for themselves but also for a lot of other things in their environment.
The man who was attacked by the alligator should have known better; the alligator did not know any better. After the man tempted the alligator, it reacted in normal alligator fashion. What followed was a series of events that only compounded the trouble.
Kent Robnett wanted to play the "hero" and decided to kill the alligator himself even though it was illegal. He carefully set a trap to lure the alligator into a vulnerable position. Once within range, Robnett shot the alligator in the head killing it. This was a cowardly act and a crime against nature, but Robnett was not charged with anything.
People were overlooking the natural laws of nature in a preconceived notion that somehow this alligator was the "enemy" and had to be eliminated. This animal could have been saved and sent to another place, but the fanatic who shot it and the authorities only wanted to kill it.
It's time to put the blame where it belongs. Too many people have been directing their fears and hostilities towards a creature that was not knowingly doing anything wrong; all it was trying to do was to stay alive the best way it could. This alligator did not deserve condemnation, and it certainly did not deserve to get a bullet in the head! There has been a monumental betrayal by the people who are supposed to be protecting alligators, and there has been no justice for this alligator!
--Marlin O. Wallace