HomeOutdoorsNewsNeighbors Upset After Well-Known Gator Named ‘Big George’ Killed by Security Guard in South Carolina

Neighbors Upset After Well-Known Gator Named ‘Big George’ Killed by Security Guard in South Carolina

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Residents of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina are mourning the loss of their neighborhood mascot, a 13-foot alligator named “Big George,” after local security guards shot and killed the animal. Despite the outcry over the gator’s death, officials state it was perfectly legal for security guards to dispatch the animal.

ABC’s WJCL reports Big George has been a beloved member of the Sea Pines Community for years. And that’s exactly why longtime residents have become so upset over the creature’s death. One resident took further issue with officials shooting and killing the gator just feet from her house.

“I saw them wrestling with him and I saw his tail lashing,” resident Terri Weiss recalled while speaking with WJCL. Weiss, while upset over the gator’s death, said that she did not blame security guards for needing to dispatch the animal— if it were being a nuisance or danger to residents. However, she said that those in charge of executing the animal should have definitely issued a warning.

“If you need to dispose of an animal that’s dangerous and needs to be disposed of under South Carolina law, then I accept that,” she said.

Nevertheless, she continued, “do it in a way that doesn’t endanger the rest of us. Guns can misfire. Bullets can ricochet. Things can happen. And when you’re this close to residents and homes that’re occupied — you have to notify us.”

Per the news outlet, Big George was shot and killed by a Sea Pines security guard and a wildlife officer. Together, they fired three shots.

Speaking about the dispatch of the animal and addressing local outcry, the Sea Pines’ Community Service Association said, “Nuisance alligators cannot be relocated, if an alligator is deemed to be aggressive or nuisance the [South Carolina Department of Natural Resources] permit allows Sea Pines SCA to remove and euthanize that animal.”

The state’s DNR further supported these recent efforts to remove the gator, stating, “This [permit] allows communities to address alligator issues proactively and they can contract with removal agents directly or remove the animal themselves, all per the terms of the permit.”

Therefore, despite the neighborhood’s dismay over the creature’s death—and Weiss’s displeasure at the discharge of firearms so near her home—the removal of the alligator was perfectly within the community’s security’s legal rights. And truthfully, Big George isn’t exactly a saint. The large reptile’s death has made local headlines. However, the creature also went viral in 2020 when wildlife officials responded to a local backyard to remove him. Footage shows him snapping his massive jaws at an animal control officer and sending a resident’s firepit flying.