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Leaked Facebook video saves alligator from abusive teens

A video showing teens abusing an alligator locked in an Ohio basement has led to the animal's rescue.


Tim Sampson

Internet Culture

Posted on Jun 5, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 2:05 pm CDT

It’s time for another installment of “Creeps Doing Something Stupid, Filming It, Posting The Video Online and Getting In Trouble.” 

Today’s video comes from the exotic animal abuse file. It seems that some Ohio teens thought it would be funny to record a video of themselves abusing and taunting a malnourished alligator that had been confined in a basement for more than 15 years. After the footage was leaked to Facebook, animal control officers in Dayton, Ohio, had the evidence they needed to seize the seven-foot, 150-pound alligator.

The video reportedly showed a teenager throwing beer cans at the animal, causing it to snap at the edges of the plastic box in which it was kept. The animal was kept in the basement for years and it’s believed the owner regularly left the side door open to let local teens come and see it. Authorities do not believe the owner was home when the footage was taken.

Rumors about the alligator had floated around among local animal control officers for years, but it wasn’t until the video surfaced on Facebook that they had the necessary evidence to go in and recover the animal. Tim Harrison, director of Outreach For Animals, a group that rescue exotic animals in Ohio, told the The Daily Mail that the alligator was severely weakened by a lack of nourishment and sunlight.

“When we brought him out into the sun, he actually just closed his eyes for a long time,” Harrison said. “It was really sad.”

Local Dayton news station WDTN reports that the alligator, named Right Boot, was only seven feet long when it should have been 10 feet. The animal was suffering from a bone disease and loose teeth, caused by a vitamin D deficiency associated with a lack of sunlight. 

The Humane Society of Greater Dayton said the teens who taunted the animal may face cruelty charges.The alligator has been taken to Columbus to be rehabilitated before it will be transferred to a wildlife sanctuary in Florida. 

In Ohio, a recently enacted law makes it illegal to own exotic animals that are not registered with the state. Owners have until the end of this year to register their animals. The law was passed in response to an incident two years ago, in which the owner of an animal preserve near Zanesville, Ohio, released all his animals into the wild before killing himself. Law enforcement officials had to slaughter more than 49 animals in that bizarre case, including eight rare bengal tigers. 

This is far from the first time that reckless individuals have incriminated themselves through online video postings. There are numerous cases of joyriders and speed demons being busted by police after posting videos of their reckless driving online. And of course, there have been dozens of incidents where teens find themselves in trouble for bullying after recording their cruelty and putting it up online for the world to see. 

Photo by WDTN

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*First Published: Jun 5, 2013, 1:12 pm CDT