Florida Man Stories – September 12

September 12 – College Kids Sneak Dead Gator Into Dorm Room and Snap Pictures

Three Florida Gulf Coast University undergraduates received a warning from the state’s wildlife department after bringing a dead alligator into their dorm room and posting photos on social media.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent a representative to the school after receiving from the university police department about photos of a dead reptile on a dorm room bed. The dorm room was located in Palmetto Hall on the college’s campus. Students throughout the school saw pictures of the prank on Snapchat.

Many students assumed the picture was a joke. “I thought it wasn’t real. I thought it was photoshopped,” said senior Ashley Wells.

When wildlife officers arrived, the students explained that they had found the reptile dead and decided to bring it on campus for fun. Wildlife spokesperson Bill Norris confirmed that the alligator showed signs of a “hit and run” or road kill. Officers then removed the carcass from campus.

All three students received written warnings for possession of an alligator without the required permits. The wildlife commission also reminded the university community to “leave alligators alone whether someone thinks it’s dead or alive,” Norris said.

Florida Gulf Coast University is located in Fort Myers, making alligator sightings fairly common events. However, state law bans people from feeding or enticing wild reptiles since they can lose their shyness toward humans and potentially become dangerous.

“We expect everyone to follow all state and federal laws, as well as university rules, regarding the protection of animals,” wildlife representative Susan Evans said.

Although the state’s wildlife agency marked the incident as resolved, other university students remain disturbed.

“It’s not Crocodile Hunters,” said senior Brian Gabriel. “You can’t do this. We’re not trained to do something like that.”

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September 12 – Florida Woman Receives DUI for Drunk Riding on Horseback

A Florida woman caught horsing around and received a DU charge for riding drunk.

Police stopped Donna Byrne for unusual behavior while riding her horse on Combee Road in Lakeland, Florida. Byrne is originally from Polk City, and police estimate that she took her horse named Bo Duke on a 10-mile trot up the road east of Tampa.

Witnesses called police after noticing that Byrne appeared “confused” on her pet animal. Responding officers noted that the woman had bloodshot eyes and smelled like alcohol. Police made Byrne complete a sobriety test and found her alcohol levels were more than double the legal limit of .08.

Because Florida state law has a broad definition of “vehicle,” Byrne received a DUI charge for drunk driving. In state law, any mode of transportation that a person rides or drives counts as an automotive. This means that a person can receive a charge from riding anything from a golf cart to a pony.

“”Ms. Byrne put herself and the horse in danger, but also anyone who was driving on the road,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Along with the arrest for drunk driving, the Florida woman also received a charge of animal neglect for her horse. Polk County Animal Control confiscated the equine for care in their livestock unit.

Bryne has a history of misdemeanors in the state. Previous charges include cruelty to animals, probation violations, and traffic citations. Police officers confirm that this time, Byrne’s final stop is the jailhouse.

“She was ultimately going to the county jail. She just didn’t realize it when she saddled up her horse and rode into town,” said Judd.