Owner of Critter Management loses contract with SCDNR - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Owner of Critter Management loses contract with SCDNR

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BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

The owner of Critter Management in Beaufort County, Joe Maffo, has lost his contract with South Carolina's Department of Natural Resources and his license to catch gators has been suspended.

Maffo caught a 12-foot gator back in May, but instead of killing it he relocated it, which according to DNR is against the law.

Maffo did lose his license, however, he is still able to catch gators. He caught an 11-foot gator Friday on Hilton Head Plantation.

Maffo had been called out to pick up the 12 feet 8 inch gator up twice. It's known around the Lowcountry as big Al. Both times Maffo released Big Al back in to the New river in Jasper County.

According to DNR, that is against their protocol which is why they had to terminate their contract with Maffo.

Maffo acknowledged that he made the wrong decision.

"I made a judgment call. It was a foolish call. I released and un-aggressive large gator," he said.

That may have cost him his contract with DNR, but Maffo is still catching gators. Maffo's clients have to secure a tag from DNR. And if you don't have the tag, Maffo said you can just call DNR and request an emergency tag.

He said he has no hard feelings with DNR.

"We're all in good standings. Nobody is mad...I just made a bad call," Maffo said.

Maffo hopes to get his license back in January and said he does plan on working with DNR again.

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