Panama City - A popular full-time resident at St. Andrews State Park is dead. Park rangers found Stumpy the alligator mutilated in some woods at the park. Rangers believe someone purposely killed the alligator for it's meat. It's tail had been removed.
Gator Lake is a popular attraction at St. Andrews State Park.And Stumpy was the best known gator in the lake. He got his name because years ago he'd lost a leg; probably in a fight with another alligator.
But around 4 o'clock Wednesday afternoon, someone noticed Stumpy wasn't there anymore.
"It appears it had been hooked with a large fishing hook, drug in and then shot to the head and killed. It's missing it's tail, cut off it's tail and then drug off into the wood line," Park Manager Brian Addison said.
This isn't the first crime of this type in Bay County. In 2009, authorities arrested five men for killing an alligator the exact same way in St. Andrews State Park. They avoided a felony trial and a possible five-year prison sentence by pleading to a misdemeanor, and receiving six months in jail and hundreds of dollars in fines. Park officials can't believe someone would commit this type of crime in a state park.
"That's the whole reason the park is here, to be able to view and enjoy nature in it's natural habitat and it's disturbing that somebody would come out here for a senseless killing for a defenseless animal to do that," Addison said.
Park officials said they do not yet have any suspects.