Senator Hembree: New ‘common sense’ bill in SC would save gators who aren’t dangerous

State - Regional

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources could soon be required to come up with more humane ways to capture and relocate alligators in the state due to a new bill introduced in the Senate last month.

The bill would allow those like The Snake Chaser to have more discretion over whether or not to save or kill alligators after they’ve been captured.

“I’m just not a big fan of taking an animal that’s in the wild, deemed a nuisance, or finds its way in the middle of a road somewhere, and you know, having to kill it,” said The Snake Chaser, Russell Cavender.

A crowd gathers to watch an alligator that showed up in a Murrells Inlet neighborhood.

With one newly introduced bill, an alligator roaming the streets of South Carolina may not have to be killed.

“It’s really a situation where the need for the folks to go out and get these alligators has out-run the law, and we just need to, we’re looking at a statute that would sort of catch the law up to the need that’s already out there,” said Senator Greg Hembree, who is sponsoring the bill.

The idea came about when Cavender decided to save and not kill an alligator he found that wasn’t a danger, which goes against current SCDNR rules.

The new bill, read in the Senate for the first time in January, would ask the department to come up with better non-lethal methods to capture and relocate these gators.

The bill would require SCDNR to come up with non-lethal ways to capture and relocate gators who may not be dangerous enough to kill.

But, Cavender doesn’t completely agree with the bill’s wording. “What I was hoping for is to be able to have the discretion to, you know, basically give these alligators to zoos or, you know, private zoos or organizations instead of having to kill every alligator that’s been captured,” he said.

This statute would give that discretion to those like The Snake Chaser, to decide if an alligator is a nuisance and should be killed, or is not a danger and should be saved, according to Senator Hembree.

“It just seems to be that we should still try to save ’em,” said Cavender. “As many as we can.”

Saving a species that’s threatened to be extinct in a better, more humane way.

“There are those animals, I mean, that can create a danger to, you know, people, or their property or their pets, things like that, but there are a lot of these animals that there’s, they’re not dangerous,” said Sen. Hembree.

The bill is currently in the Senate committee on fish, game and forestry.

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