COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- The Everglades air boat captain who had his hand bitten off by a gator is out of jail on bond today. Wally Weatherholt was arrested over the weekend on charges stemming from the mid-June incident. Weathrholt's boss, Glenn Smith, said the charges against the 63-year old are unfair, "I think it is pretty cruel. I think he has already paid enough to go and arrest him for doing this is wrong."
Fish and Wildlife officials in Naples say the State Attorney's Office is going ahead with the charges, based on overwhelming physical evidence that Weatherholt was feeding a gator before the attack. On that day June 12, tourists on the boat told us Weatherholt was driving an air boat when he reached over the water with a fish to feed a nine-foot alligator. They say it jumped up and grabbed his hand.
Today, FWC says there is photographic evidence of this crime, as feeding alligators is a second-degree misdemeanor.
"I talked to him and he is in good spirits. He is still waiting on an arm which will be done in three weeks," said Smith.
Weatherholt's next court date is August 22nd. Penalties for feeding an alligator can carry a fine up to $500 and jail time.