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A South Carolina town is investigating how a massive alligator was removed from a mini-golf course this week, according to local officials.
The male alligator’s capture and euthanasia after being removed from a lagoon in Hilton Head Island prompted outrage, in particular after photos and video posted on social media showed the beast being manhandled after its capture, according to the Island Packet.
Town Manager Steve Riley said the community is “deeply concerned about the egregious and unacceptable behavior” that took place during the alligator’s removal.
Hilton Head officials are also investigating Critter Management’s removal permit, which the town issued to the company after Legendary Golf called for their assistance with the gator’s removal.
(Officials investigated the removal of an alligator in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, that got out of hand. (iStock))
A crowed of about 100 people who had gathered to see the 12-foot-long beast be removed started to come closer at the request of Joey Maffo, 19, the grandson of Legendary Golf’s owner, according to the newspaper.
At that point, onlookers began to take pictures with the alligator, riding it and posing near it — some of which ended up on social media.
Critics took issue with how the animal was being treated.
“I didn’t know how it would look to all the people online,” Maffo told the Island Packet. “They’re just tourists. They want to see a gator up (close). … I was just trying to get everybody to understand how big and powerful they are.”
Both Joey and his grandfather, Joe Maffo, apologized for the incident on Thursday.
“It certainly wasn’t our intent to exploit this alligator,” Joe Maffo told reporters at Critter Management’s headquarters. “We had no intentions of making it look like a fiasco.”