The Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County is contributing $1000 to the reward total for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty parties in the Sumter County Sheriff’s case of 43 alligators and crocodiles burned alive and the theft of one rare leucistic alligator in Bushnell June 22, 2018. To be eligible for this reward tips, which remain anonymous, must be submitted to Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).
“These terrible crimes against animals are absolutely unacceptable. The individual(s) responsible for this need to be captured immediately and we hope the missing alligator will be safely recovered” commented HS/SPCA Chairman Celine Petrie. She emphasized that “we are asking for community help with any information which could help bring justice to these innocent victims.”
According to a published Sheriff’s report, “during a subsequent search of the burned building, a leucistic alligator (aka Snowball) (pictured) was discovered missing and believed stolen. The victim advised the leucistic alligator was in the building at 1130 a.m. that morning and was housed with forty three other reptiles. All of the other animals (43 total) in the building were accounted for within the burned structure and found to be deceased. The deceased animals consisted of both alligators and crocodiles. The State Fire Marshal’s Office was contacted and is investigating the cause of the fire which at this time appears to be arson. Based on items observed at the scene, it appears that the building was burglarized first and then set on fire after the theft of the rare alligator.
If anyone has information about this case, or contact is made with this animal or one of similar markings, contact Sumter County Sheriff’s Detective Chris Merritt at 352-793-2621 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477).