Or, at least, charge them under Montana state law for animal cruelty. To wit:
The Bryants couldn’t believe their eyes, but there was no doubt the animal swimming toward them was an alligator. Bryant moved to the edge of the dock and started taking pictures with her camera phone, knowing no one would believe them otherwise.
At first the alligator was almost friendly, she said, but they still wanted to get it out of the water so someone could come take care of it. A friend grabbed Josh’s pole and tried to hook the gator. He succeeded a few times, but each time the alligator simply swallowed the lure.
A few more would-be fishermen showed up soon after. One of them had a stronger pole; he, too, tried to catch the alligator but once again it swallowed the proffered minnow, hook and all.
By this time, onlookers had called friends and soon a crowd of about 50 people had gathered. Some simply watched. Others tried to help subdue the alligator, which was now agitated.
Well, if people were harassing you and hitting you with various poles, fishing lines, lures, hooks, and bait, would you not be agitated? And that’s not considering the effect a gathering crowd of tumultuous people would have on any wild animal; specifically, this alligator was being surrounded and cornered in the water.
It gets worse.
Someone brought a bow and shot it. They knew the alligator had been hit because the arrow was sticking straight up, Josh said. Then the arrow — and the alligator — disappeared for almost an hour.
And so it begins. Beating and badgering it weren’t enough, so let’s shoot it with a bow and arrow instead. No one can claim in their right mind that any level of confidence was had in thinking this was going to kill the animal. That means it was intentional cruelty, or at least cruelty by ignorance, and ignorance of the law does not absolve someone of legal responsibility. So it progressed:
The gator didn’t stay down for good, though. When it surfaced, the crowd was ready.
“His dad jumped in the water,” Josh said, pointing at his friend, Kaynen McGuire.
McGuire, 11, nodded. His father had plunged in the water with a stick, grabbed the alligator by the tail and swung it onto the bank.
And then the mob mentality boiled over and the ugly animal nature of humans became quite clear.
Four men held it down and tied its jaws shut with fish stringer, then put it in a canoe and dragged it up to the road. Someone produced a knife and tried to slit the animal’s throat. Still it didn’t die.
So, where are we now? We’ve teased it, harassed it, annoyed it until it was mad, cornered it, surrounded it with loud obnoxious people, offered it sharp metal objects with food so it would swallow them (in detriment to its own health), shot it with an arrow, forcefully hurled it out of the water after it was already wounded and weak, isolated it outside of its safest environoment and further surrounded it with a mob that served to increase its fear and rage, used fishing line to tie its mouth shut (which is cruel insomuch as the line would cause extreme pain and likely cut through the skin), tossed it into a canoe, dragged it down the road, and finally tried to cut its throat with a knife.
Could it get any worse? Of course! We’re talking about humans lashing out in a mob mentality at an innocent and solitary animal who is too young and too small to successfully defend itself against such a large group of mindless and heartless killer-thugs.
The Flathead County Sheriff’s Office didn’t hear about the incident until about 10 p.m., according to dispatch logs. When Deputy Ray Young arrived, he called Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which referred him to U.S. Fish and Wildlife. By this time, the alligator was in bad shape, so the federal agency told Young to shoot it.
So he did. And that was the end of this particular Montana torture and cruelty story. Well, almost.
Brian Sommers, regional investigator with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, got the call around 10:40 p.m.
Sommers has had to deal with pet alligators in the past, he said, but only a few and only animals about 20 inches long. At 5 feet long and roughly 60 pounds, Monday’s alligator was the largest he’s ever seen in the area.
If found, the person responsible will be charged for releasing the alligator into the wild, he said.
Okay, let me see if I understand all of this correctly. Some kids locate an alligator in a pond in Montana. Because humans are inherently evil and wish to inflict pain and suffering on anything that moves (often that includes other people), a mob of about 50 chest-beating brutes gathers and over the course of hours enjoys beating, cutting, teasing, harassing, abusing, dragging, binding, and otherwise harming the animal, all of this finally concluding with it being shot because it’s already suffered so much and is in terrible condition — a status determined by a police officer on the scene who knows nothing about alligators and could in no way determine if it had any chance of recovery, so via phone to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife a shared determination is made to shoot and kill it. No one made a professional evaluation of the animal before this decision was made.
And the best they can do is offer to charge the person who released it? What about the inhumane animals that caused it such unforgivable pain and suffering? Perhaps idiots in Montana aren’t familiar with their own law, so let me see if I can help.
Oh, look, here’s a little something that might be important.
TITLE 45. CRIMES
CHAPTER 8. OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER
PART 2. OFFENSIVE, INDECENT, AND INHUMANE CONDUCT
45-8-211. Cruelty to animals – exceptions
45-8-211. Cruelty to animals — exceptions
(1) A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals if, without justification, the person knowingly or negligently subjects an animal to mistreatment or neglect by:
- (a) overworking, beating, tormenting, torturing, injuring, or killing the animal;
- (b) carrying or confining the animal in a cruel manner;
- (c) failing to provide an animal in the person’s custody with:
- (i) food and water of sufficient quantity and quality to sustain the animal’s normal health;
- (ii) minimum protection for the animal from adverse weather conditions, with consideration given to the species;
- (iii) in cases of immediate, obvious, serious illness or injury, licensed veterinary or other appropriate medical care;
In and of itself, everyone involved is at least guilty of violating Montana’s animal cruelty statute. And that assumes they are not charged with multiple counts for violating each of (a), (b), and (c)(iii).
It is also important to note that the species of alligator is of the utmost importance. While the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is no longer considered endangered and was delisted as such in 1987, it is still listed as a federally protected “threatened” species because it looks similar to the endangered American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus). Also, other alligator species are still endangered and still covered by this federal law. If the species is determined to be one of those, this remains a federal crime. Essentially, it will be difficult for this not to be a violation of the Endangered Species Act and therefore subject to civil and/or criminal penalties.
Additionally, both the Montana and federal wildlife agencies appear to be guilty of dereliction of duty, failure to protect wildlife, promoting the commission of a state crime, possibly promoting the commission of a federal crime, and aiding and abetting animal cruelty. In addition, personnel involved from both agencies are guilty of committing an offense under Montana’s law — specifically 45-8-211 § (1)(c)(iii).
One might additionally argue that, due to the presence of children, some manner of child abuse and/or neglect was in play. When adults demonstrate this level of brutality and mercilessness toward another creature while a child or children are present, I find it hard to imagine there is no psychological and/or emotional damage. I believe it would be prudent to pursue that avenue in addition to all other state and federal remedies available. Perhaps losing custody of their children would teach the lesson these evil beasts need to learn.
This is ultimately an example of the ugly and cruel nature of humans, especially when abdicating individual responsibility to a mob mentality.
As mArniAc said when she forwarded this to me,
I am appalled by the viciousness of people. Who was the animal here?
Indeed. One can easily see the alligator posed less of a threat than the people, and all those involved demonstrated the primitive bestial nature inherent in all of us. The only difference is that we claim to be above such things, to have control over that genetic programming, and to be differentiated from all other animals by our humanity. None of that was displayed in this case.
I hate people. This is a perfect example of why that’s true.