HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - The Town of Hilton Head Island has responded to an incident involving an alligator removed from Legendary Golf.
The incident caused controversy on social media. After a review, the town has decided to remove all business and contractual relationships with Critter Management. That’s the company that removed the alligator.
You can read the summary of actions released by Hilton Head below:
- The Town has previously, and continues to, vehemently condemn the treatment of this alligator after it had been secured by Critter Management. This unprofessional and disrespectful behavior did not meet the expectations of the Town or of the Hilton Head Island community and cannot be allowed to be repeated in the future.
- As a result of the actions that occurred, the Town has immediately severed all contractual and business relationships with Critter Management and will not seek to utilize their services for any matters occurring on Town property.
- At no point in the future will the Town permit one of its nuisance alligator removal tags issued to it by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to be utilized on behalf of a private property owner. These permits will be reserved for the exclusive use of Town in addressing situations occurring on Town property and will be carried out in strict compliance with SCDNR requirements and guidance. Any private property owner needing to address a nuisance alligator situation will need to contact SCDNR directly to obtain a removal permit. This can be accomplished by contacting SCDNR at either 803-625-3569 or 800-922-5431.
- Should the Town need to address a nuisance alligator situation arising on Town property, it will select an authorized removal agent as identified by SCDNR. Additionally, the Town will incorporate mandatory provisions within its contractual arrangements that will ensure that members of the general public are strictly prohibited from interacting in any way with the animal during the removal process and that the animal will be handled in a respectful manner.
- Matters arising under state law concerning potential animal abuse will need to be reviewed and handled by SCDNR as the State’s law enforcement arm overseeing wildlife management and more specifically, the nuisance alligator removal program. There is no role for the Town in this regard as it does not possess the necessary jurisdiction to criminally investigate or subsequently prosecute matters arising under these statutory provisions.
- The Town’s business license regulations do provide manners in which a particular license may be suspended or revoked, particularly in response to activities that have been deemed to be a public nuisance. However, in order for such situation to exist, there must first be a violation of an underlying law that would give rise to the need to abate the illegal behavior. If no such determination ultimately occurs, then there would not be sufficient grounds to suspend or remove the license. Additionally, due process considerations typically require a business license holder to be given an opportunity to correct the nuisance situation prior to the license being suspended or revoked.
- Given these considerations, it is not possible for the Town to take further actions at this time beyond severing all of its business relationships with Critter Management and continuing to publicly admonish them for the situation that was allowed to occur under their oversight and management.