Atchison Co. investigating alligator incident at lake

The Atchison County Sheriff’s Office is currently conducting two animal cruelty investigations that relate to an alligator being released into the Atchison County Lake.

This last Saturday deputies responded to the Atchison County Lake for the report of the Alligator in the creek area of the lake.  When deputies arrived they verified that it was an alligator approximately 3’-3 ½ ‘long.

The Atchison County Sheriff’s deputies were advised to monitor the alligator throughout the balance of the weekend and were going to make arrangements Monday morning to humanely rescue the alligator.

Early Monday morning Atchison County Undersheriff Joe Butner contacted the Humane Society of United States (HSUS) who advised provided the contact information for Code 3 Associates (  Code 3 Associates advised that they would help trap and capture the alligator and transport it to Monkey Island a non-profit animal sanctuary in Greenwood, Mo.

Once the arrangements were made with Code 3 Associates and Monkey Island the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office received a message that someone (Not affiliated with the Atchison County Sheriff’s Office) had shot the alligator and killed it.  Deputies responded to the lake to investigate.

Later a call came in to the Sheriff’s Office that the alligator had not been killed but possibly wounded.  Deputies then went to the Atchison County Humane Society to borrow a catch pole, portable kennel, and other tools they had available.  Two representatives with the Atchison County Humane Society responded to the lake to assist with the capture.  They were able catch the Alligator with a fisherman’s net and placed it into a portable kennel.  The Atchison County Humane Society transported it to their facility where they kept it overnight in the proper climate. An Atchison County Sheriff’s Deputy transported it to the Kansas City, KS area where he met with Eric Thompson of Code 3 Associates who transported the Alligator to Monkey Island.

Upon capturing the alligator a bullet wound in front of the eyes on the alligator’s snout was discovered.  Officials were told that the bullet did travel all the way through but a representative of Monkey Island believes it will recover fine.  The person who shot the alligator has been cooperative with the Sheriff’s Office and has been issued a summons to appear in court for Cruelty to Animals.  The suspect’s name is Dennis Statler, 53, of Horton, Kan.

The Atchison County Sheriff’s Office are still following up on leads of the owner of the Alligator.

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