Alligator found in Kentucky leads to man facing charges: Wildlife officials

“Alligators don’t make good pets”
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Published: Jul. 7, 2022 at 8:17 AM EDT
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BIG LAUREL, Ky. (WXIX) - A Harlan County man was charged with illegally transporting an alligator without informing the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources on July 6.

Cameron Cornett, 23, was in possession of a 4.5-foot-long alligator that he transported from Florida to Big Laurel, Kentucky, according to a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources press release.

A Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Conservation officer, Kyle Clark, and a Fish and Wildlife technician, Aaron Smith, acted on a tip they received on June 19. The pair searched through Greasy Creek for the alligator.

After Clark and Smith found the exotic animal, they left to retrieve the proper equipment to capture it, but when they returned, they only found a trail of blood leading to KY Highway 2008.

The investigation led Clark to a bloody truck bed at the home of Cornett’s relative, according to Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

The alligator was kept in an enclosure in the yard but had escaped a few weeks earlier, Cornett’s relative said.

“Kentucky Fish and Wildlife occasionally receives reports of alligators and caimans in state waterways,” Officer Clark said. “There are reasons why we have laws in place prohibiting the importation of exotic and inherently dangerous animals.”

When Cornett saw a video of the alligator circulating on social media, he became concerned and ordered for his relative and another person to kill the alligator, the relative explained.

“Alligators don’t make good pets. Even a smaller one can injure a person,” Clark added. “When an alligator grows beyond a person’s capacity to care for it, oftentimes it gets released into the wild, and then it becomes a potential danger to others. Besides, it’s unlikely to survive through the winter.”

Cornett was cited on June 23 and has been charged with illegally transporting and possessing an inherently dangerous exotic (non-native) animal, not reporting its escape to the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and not having a permit or documentation for other exotic animals in his possession, according to a Fish and Wildlife press release.

Cornett’s next arraignment will be on August 8.

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