FWC: Airboat captain arrested for feeding alligator that bit off his hand

Wallace 'Wally' Weatherholt, 63, an Everglades City airboat captain, was arrested Friday, charged with feeding an alligator. The reptile bit off his hand in June.

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Wallace "Wally" Weatherholt, 63, an Everglades City airboat captain, was arrested Friday, charged with feeding an alligator. The reptile bit off his hand in June.

Capt. Wallace 'Wally' Weatherholt

Capt. Wallace "Wally" Weatherholt

An Everglades City airboat captain whose hand was bitten off by an alligator last month was arrested Friday, now facing a charge of feeding the reptile.

Wallace “Wally” Weatherholt, 63, was released from jail Friday on $1,000 bond after his arrest on a charge of unlawful feeding of an alligator, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said Weatherholt, an employee of Captain Doug’s Everglades Tours, was giving an Indiana family an airboat tour June 12 when a 9-foot alligator bit off his left hand.

A woman on the airboat told NBC-2 that Weatherholt was feeding the alligator before he patted the water, trying to get the alligator to surface. That’s when the reptile attacked, the woman said.

The June 12 attack wasn’t the first time a Collier County resident lost a hand or a limb to an alligator.

Between January 2011 and May 2012, six people were warned and 13 cited in Florida for feeding or enticing an alligator, according to FWC records.

In July 2010, an alligator bit off the left hand of Tim Delano, then 18, as he was playing in a swimming hole off Alligator Alley near Everglades Boulevard. Delano later was fitted with a hook and a prosthetic hand but told the Daily News later that year that he mostly avoids using it.

More recently, 90-year-old Margaret Webb lost her left leg below the knee in August after being attacked by an alligator while she stood in the front yard of her Copeland home.

And on July 9, 17-year-old Kaleb Langdale of Moore Haven lost his right arm from the elbow down in an alligator attack while swimming in the Caloosahatchee River, FWC officers reported.

The 11-foot gator was found and killed later that night after the attack that happened in the water near River Road, southwest of U.S. 27.

The arm of was found inside the gator but it could not be reattached, officials said.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 57

Parkmeister writes:

"Between January 2011 and May 2012, six people were warned and 13 cited in Florida for feeding or enticing an alligator, according to FWC records"

I've always loved the signs "Do not feed or Molest the alligators".

This is what should happen when you Molest something, it gets chopped off......

ArrowII writes:

It's nice to read that the 'Do Not Feed Alligators' law is being upheld. Maybe Wallace "Wally" Weatherholt, 63 will be an example to others.

SlappyPappy writes:

So hands are considered food now?

Lemme writes:

The alligator said.. "it taste like chicken".

Klaatu writes:

Do they really think he hasn't learned his lesson?

Or

Is it more about revenue?

People being arrested and charged with minor crimes, when Bank fraud and the filing of fraudulent mortgage documents in the Courts has largely been ignored.
Company's and Corporation hiring of Illegal workers has been ignored!
Cops committing crimes has largely been ignored.
The list could go on !

But catching the now one armed man was easy and now he must be punished for his crime!

Losing his hand is punishment enough and far more than the Courts of this State would/could ever do !

straighttalkinnaples writes:

"FWC: Airboat captain arrested for feeding alligator that bite off his hand" -NDN headline

Dictionary: bite v (present tense)
v (bit, past participle)

The alligator "bit" off his hand several weeks ago, however the NDN still thinks it's ongoing.

Any chance the NDN newsdesk editors can start using a dictionary to help write headlines?

straighttalkinnaples writes:

in response to straighttalkinnaples:

"FWC: Airboat captain arrested for feeding alligator that bite off his hand" -NDN headline

Dictionary: bite v (present tense)
v (bit, past participle)

The alligator "bit" off his hand several weeks ago, however the NDN still thinks it's ongoing.

Any chance the NDN newsdesk editors can start using a dictionary to help write headlines?

New NDN headline:
"FWC: Airboat captain arrested for feeding alligator that bit off his hand"

Much Better!

Bigkondorsback (Inactive) writes:

in response to straighttalkinnaples:

"FWC: Airboat captain arrested for feeding alligator that bite off his hand" -NDN headline

Dictionary: bite v (present tense)
v (bit, past participle)

The alligator "bit" off his hand several weeks ago, however the NDN still thinks it's ongoing.

Any chance the NDN newsdesk editors can start using a dictionary to help write headlines?

They have dictionaries. They are Spanish though.

AssyMcGee writes:

I donated $$ to the Captain Wally victims fund at the captaindougs.net site.
Should I ask for it back now? Can I sue somebody, anybody ? Can Captain Wally get disability money for PTSD ? Am I asking too many questions ? Am I an idiot, too ??

darkduude writes:

in response to Klaatu:

Do they really think he hasn't learned his lesson?

Or

Is it more about revenue?

People being arrested and charged with minor crimes, when Bank fraud and the filing of fraudulent mortgage documents in the Courts has largely been ignored.
Company's and Corporation hiring of Illegal workers has been ignored!
Cops committing crimes has largely been ignored.
The list could go on !

But catching the now one armed man was easy and now he must be punished for his crime!

Losing his hand is punishment enough and far more than the Courts of this State would/could ever do !

I agree 100%.Its over, now leave him alone.

Raminar_Dixon writes:

How do you handcuff a one armed man?

Bigkondorsback (Inactive) writes:

in response to Raminar_Dixon:

How do you handcuff a one armed man?

One of the cuffs is a mechanical gator head.

privateroad writes:

the gator said it tasted like chicken

Beachtowel writes:

Nut jobs run the park service

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

Geeze FWC! Dude lost his hand. Do you REALLY have to rub salt in it! Heartless b-tards, leave old Lefty alone - HE GETS IT ALREADY.

sharks2009 writes:

"The arm of was found inside the gator but it could not be reattached, officials said."

Who is "was"?

Let me help you out!

The arm of Mr. Weatherholt was found inside the gator, but could not be reattached.

beetlejuice writes:

in response to Raminar_Dixon:

How do you handcuff a one armed man?

omg

SaveaRat writes:

In my opinion, the charge and bond for $1000.00 was a slap on the wrist. The alligator lost his life because of this guy. Surely, the charge should have been greater and not treated like he threw a cigarette out the window of his car.

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

There's a gator in the bushes, he's calling my name (and he says...)
Come on, boy, you better make it back home, again
Many roads I've travelled - they all kinda look the same
There's a gator in the bushes, Lord, he's calling my name

- Molly Hatchet

kidsay writes:

in response to SaveaRat:

In my opinion, the charge and bond for $1000.00 was a slap on the wrist. The alligator lost his life because of this guy. Surely, the charge should have been greater and not treated like he threw a cigarette out the window of his car.

Are you serious? The captains do that so tourists can see alligators. If they don't see them, they don't go on their airboats and the poor man is out of business. You are in need of help when you value the life of an alligator over the poor man who lost his hand trying to keep his job pleasing those tourists. You better re-evaluate your priorities. I think losing his hand was punishment enough!

joeblow writes:

People who donated money are idiots. He would still have is hand / arm if he wouldn't have broke the law.

cnc1128 writes:

in response to ArrowII:

It's nice to read that the 'Do Not Feed Alligators' law is being upheld. Maybe Wallace "Wally" Weatherholt, 63 will be an example to others.

That is a heartless, insensitive and cruel remark. Shame on you, you know it all smart alleck!!!!!

muleman1 writes:

DUMMMMMMMMMM as a door nail!

ArrowII writes:

in response to cnc1128:

That is a heartless, insensitive and cruel remark. Shame on you, you know it all smart alleck!!!!!

What is heartless and insensitive if the next airboat captain thinks twice before feeding a gator & losing HIS hand?

BTW, 'smart alleck' is spelled 'smart aleck.'

QueBonita writes:

A "first punishment" in certain Muslim countries is to chop off a thief's left hand.
Perhaps this is punishment enough for the good captain misguided feeding?

blueblueblue writes:

in response to Raminar_Dixon:

How do you handcuff a one armed man?

Or fingerprint him?

garyOfTheGulf writes:

Where can Capt. Wally be viewed at now? Has re reported to Capt. Doug yet? Inquiring minds want to know!!

justright (Inactive) writes:

Minor crime? Punishment enough? Feeding gators is against the law for a reason. It puts everyone that comes in contact with that gator in increased danger. Maybe all the people attacked by gators are meeting up with these same gators fed by the boat captains.

SaveaRat writes:

in response to kidsay:

Are you serious? The captains do that so tourists can see alligators. If they don't see them, they don't go on their airboats and the poor man is out of business. You are in need of help when you value the life of an alligator over the poor man who lost his hand trying to keep his job pleasing those tourists. You better re-evaluate your priorities. I think losing his hand was punishment enough!

Are you kidding???? You don't need to feed a gator to see a gator. Obviously everyone saw the gator and the captain didn't need to taunt and tease the gator to jump onto the side of the boat. Just drive down 41 East. You'll see plenty of gators without paying Captain Doug a dime!!! Now, everyone on that boat and every boat that the captains have taken out, witnessing taunting and feeding a gator, thinks it's perfectly fine to feed an alligator.

To the mashed potato guy---are you a cannibal too?

AYHSMB writes:

He is unable to pay the fine because he can't grab his wallet out of his pants pocket.

Maggotbrain writes:

The ungrateful gator should know better than to bite the hand that feeds him.

Sanity writes:

I honestly hope the judge throws this one out. The man lost his arm. He paid the price. Give him a fine and let the missing appendage be a reminder or the risks of interacting with such dangerous animals.

tru213 writes:

Revision to Headline;
Change "FWC: Airboat captain arrested for feeding alligator that bit off his hand"

to
FWC: "Airboat captain arrested for feeding his hand to alligator"

EnoughCorporateGreed (Inactive) writes:

in response to Sanity:

I honestly hope the judge throws this one out. The man lost his arm. He paid the price. Give him a fine and let the missing appendage be a reminder or the risks of interacting with such dangerous animals.

Seriously? He broke the law!

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

Gator Done!

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

in response to LoadStar:

Gator Done!

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

Hey Walleye - how's it feel being known as the "other dark meat"? It only takes ONE finger to pick both nostrils. Buck up, Walleye!

Pragmatic1 writes:

This is all just God's way of culling the herd.

Sick writes:

Politics are behind this and soon enough you will see one of them run with it for votes.

There is no way FWC made this call.

privateroad writes:

he and the kid from labelle should have to do public service announcements about messing with gators

Bigkondorsback (Inactive) writes:

in response to privateroad:

he and the kid from labelle should have to do public service announcements about messing with gators

Moore Haven, not Labelle.

cnc1128 writes:

in response to ArrowII:

What is heartless and insensitive if the next airboat captain thinks twice before feeding a gator & losing HIS hand?

BTW, 'smart alleck' is spelled 'smart aleck.'

Oh now you're appointng the poor guy as an airboat captain teacher? New job for him after he gets out of jail/prison. You are a s----- fool, smart alleck, you ought to know the correct spelling because you are one and also an IDIOT!!!!!

HAP writes:

in response to kidsay:

Are you serious? The captains do that so tourists can see alligators. If they don't see them, they don't go on their airboats and the poor man is out of business. You are in need of help when you value the life of an alligator over the poor man who lost his hand trying to keep his job pleasing those tourists. You better re-evaluate your priorities. I think losing his hand was punishment enough!

HEY IDIOT, IT'S AGAINST THE LAW. YOU BETTER RE-EVALUATE YOUR PRIORITIES. LOSING HIS HAND
WAS HIS FAULT, THE GATOR WAS KILLED AND OTHER'S COULD HAVE BEEN PUT AT RISK. IF YOU WANT TO LIVE IN DISNEY, MOVE THERE. OUR WILDLIFE IS PART OF LIFE HERE. RESPECT IT OR GO TO JAIL.

LoadStar (Inactive) writes:

Let's here it for the boy
Aw, let's give the boy a ha-aaaaand!

beetlejuice writes:

Jeff Allbritten's ex wife tries to bite off his hand in court
where's real news?

timetospeak writes:

Isn’t It Ironic? The food stamp program, part of the Department of Agriculture, is pleased to be distributing the greatest amount of food stamps ever.

Meanwhile, the Park Service, also part of the Department of Agriculture, asks us to “please do not feed the animals” because the animals may grow dependent and not learn to take care of themselves.

Bramble writes:

Authorities should have done a breathalyzer on this "captain" as many of them out there operating boats are drunk much of the time. Very risky to go on those rides for passengers and operators.

It's a shame an alligator had to die because of this mutt's s----- behavior.

Been_around writes:

Betting line is 10-1 that he gets workers comp.....

weality writes:

in court, raise the stub and offer the missing finger......evidence,pure and true, that justice can occur naturally, w/o the aid of government

mwyatt22 writes:

I would say lesson learned in this case and the guy should be left alone, but how many times do we say that, and idiots continue to do s----- things. I'm just saying.

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