Florida man steals gator from mini-golf course, beats it, telling police he was 'teaching it a lesson'

William Hodge, 32, arrested on charges of animal cruelty, possession and injury of alligator
William Hodge arrested after tossing and beating alligator
Posted at 10:45 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 10:45:47-04

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. — A southwest Florida man is accused of stealing an alligator from a mini-golf course and repeatedly beating the animal, telling police he was "teaching it a lesson."

William Hodge, 32, of Fort Myers, was arrested Wednesday night on charges of animal cruelty, burglary, and possession and injury of an alligator.

Daytona Beach Shores police said Hodge was seen carrying the gator while he was walking along State Road A1A. Police said he was then seen trying to throw the gator onto the roof of a business and slamming it on the ground by its tail.

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According to an arrest report, Hodge admitted that he jumped the fence to the alligator enclosure at Congo River Golf and stole the gator.

When asked why he was tossing the gator in the air, Hodge told police he was "teaching it a lesson."

Police said after Hodge tried and failed to throw the gator onto the roof, he was then seen slamming it to the ground and stomping on it twice.

Hodge was taken to jail and the manager of Congo River Golf retrieved the gator.