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URGENT | Urge Naples, Florida, Officials to Overturn Cruel Ruling: Sample Letter

September 29, 2011

Image | Dreamstime


The city of Naples, Florida, has narrowly approved a conditional use permit for “Gatorman Mike” (Mike Sturgill), allowing him to sell tourists the opportunity to be photographed holding and “hugging” captive alligators at his stores.

Sturgill argued that this exploitation constitutes “cultural use”! Failing to fully consider the cruelty inherent in this endeavor, the city council bought it. The vote can be overturned, but the council must call for a revote no later than this Monday, October 3!

These animals need your voice today! Alligators are naturally solitary and territorial, avoiding contact with any being. As if keeping them captive weren’t cruel enough, alligators used for photo ops are driven around, then muzzled and manhandled, all of which causes them extreme torment and stress. Indoor, air-conditioned environments rife with strange sights and sounds make things all the worse for these cold-blooded, wild beings. Please urge Naples city officials to call for a revote and ask them to deny Sturgill’s permit. Remind them that cruelty is not “culture” and should not be tolerated.


The Honorable Bill Barnett
Mayor of Naples
239-213-1010 (fax)

The Honorable Doug Finlay, Teresa Heitmann, Gary B. Price II, Sam Saad, John Sorey III, and Margaret Sulick
Naples City Council
239-213-1010 (fax)


Dear Honorable Mayor and Honorable Council Members,

I am writing today to share my disturbance regarding the conditional permit allowed Mike Sturgill (Gatorman Milke) to sell photo ops with alligators to tourists.  This was approved based on its “cultural” value and I am respectfully requesting you withdraw permission.

Please allow me to establish that this is none other than animal cruelty, and my unintended delay in commenting does not change that fact.  Alligators, naturally solitary and territorial, will demonstrate characteristic behavior of aversion to any other beings.  Further torment consists of continuous muzzling and maltreatment, causing extreme states of suffering and fear.

I understand that “cultural” events should establish tradition, a celebration of heritage and a demonstration of custom.  While I would never embrace such an egotistical belief that my opinions take precedent over established and sacred customs, any “tradition”, however, that is built on a foundation of animal cruelty, exploitation, and suffering, and which inflicts pain and fear on innocent, sentient animals, is neither justified, nor an expression of historical pride.

Please provide your voice to observe an obligatory duty and responsibility to protect animals, not condone their suffering.

I know your time is limited and I thank you for your attention to this important message.



hugging gators
in a tourist trap?
no animal nor
person needs
to put up
with this crap!!!!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 29, 2011 12:21 pm

    hugging gators
    in a tourist trap?
    no animal nor
    person needs
    to put up
    with this crap!!!!


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