Alligator claws found along area golf course

Alligator claws found along area golf course

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SORRENTO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

At the Sorrento Springs subdivision, among the golf course and well groomed lawns, neighbors came upon a gruesome discovery in the grass -- three alligator claws without a body.

It's a mystery as to how the claws ended up on the property, because neighbors like Sondra Hart said they haven't seen an alligator in the area.  Pictures were sent to FOX 35 by a viewer. We showed Hart one of the pictures.

"I wouldn't want my kids to come across it," she said.  "It's nasty and dirty."

Seminole County alligator trapper Jerry Flynn said alligator hunting season takes place from August 15 to November 1.  While he's not sure how the claws ended up in Sorrento Springs, he said it's possible an alligator hunter could have just dumped the parts.

"Maybe they couldn't afford the processing fees," he said.  "We have to take all of our gators to a licensed processor in order to sell the meat and the hides."

It's illegal to hunt alligators without a license.  While wildlife officers said it's not against the law to leave gator parts behind, they added it is considered unethical.  Jerry said it is around $20 per foot to process an alligator, and estimates this one would have cost around $140.

"Tough times," he said.  "Lot of people can't afford to do what's right."

Sondra said, "Leaving stuff behind is like leaving trash behind. Clean up, clean up after yourself."

A security guard dumped the claws in the trash. Wildlife officers recommend burying them or leaving them in a wooded area.  Meanwhile, neighbors like Sondra wonder what really happened.

"It's scary to know it's possible that a gator has been walking around here it makes me scared for the safety of my kids."

Wildlife officers said people should report any suspicious behavior by calling the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.

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