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Gator eludes long arm of law

Authorities try to move reptile from subdivision pond

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POSTED: August 1, 2014 11:20 a.m.
Photo by Lewis Levine/

HPD Patrolman Michael Shirley tries to lure a alligator onto shore in hopes of catching it and moving it out of a housing area in the city. The gator did bite at the white rag several times, but didn’t hold on long enough to be pulled out of the water.

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Hinesville Police officers often get their man, but when it comes to reptiles, well, that can be another story.
About 6 p.m. Wednesday, HPD officers responded to a report of a suspicious leathery suspect lurking in a pond in the Griffin Park subdivision. According to Canine Officer Tony Durham, some children were playing near the pond when a shifty-eyed gator made an appearance, sending the kids scrambling home to tell their parents.
Calls were placed to 911, and Patrolman Michael Shirley responded. Shirley, according to Durham, reported the wide-mouthed reptile was basking in the afternoon sun.
But he wanted to keep area residents safe, by moving. He tried luring the sneaky suspect with a rag tied to a string. The gator apparently knew the rag neither resembled nor smelled like food. It did humor the officer, swiping at the rag a few times before disappearing under water.
Durham said the goal was to relocate the animal, but that’ll have to come another day when gator-removal experts sent by the DNR hopefully can capture the 5-foot suspect.
On a serious note, Durham advised should anyone encounter a gator to keep their distance and call authorities.


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