/Florida inmate busted for feeding iguanas to alligator in jail zoo

Florida inmate busted for feeding iguanas to alligator in jail zoo

Only in Florida…

A Florida Keys inmate has been hit with extra charges — for feeding pet iguanas to an alligator at his jail’s zoo, according to authorities.

Accused car thief Jason Aaron Gibson, 40, was one of the privileged inmates allowed to work at the small petting farm on the grounds of Stock Island Detention Center, according to the Miami Herald.

He was ratted out by two other inmates who were “distraught” and “heartbroken” at witnessing him throwing iguanas to “Irwin” the alligator, officials told the paper.

Monroe County sheriff’s staff were particularly traumatized at Sunday’s death of “Mojo,” a large male iguana who had been there 13 years.

“He was more of a pet,” Jeanne Selander, a civilian jail employee who runs the farm, told the Herald. “I’m still in disbelief. Thirteen years I’ve been doing this and I’ve never had anyone do anything to the animals.”

The six-foot-long gator — who is fed dead rats once a week — is believed to have eaten the first of at least two iguanas it was thrown.

But “Mojo” was “too big,” Selander said, so “Irwin” killed it and left its carcass in its habitat.

“Occasionally an iguana falls in and that’s the circle of life. But you don’t physically catch one and feed it. That is so cruel,” Selander said.

The Prison Inmates Who Run A Zoo

The Prison Inmates Who Run A Zoo

The farm at Stock Island Detention Centre

Barcroft Media via Getty Images

mojo-iguana-38

mojo-iguana-38

Mojo, the prison iguana that was fed to an alligator by an inmate

MCSO

Gibson was arrested Monday and confessed, claiming he thought he was helping because iguanas are a “nuisance” who “terrorize the other animals,” sheriff’s deputies wrote in a report, the Herald said.

The other inmates reported him because they were so “heartbroken,” Selander said.

“I was so proud of them for stepping forward. They just couldn’t accept that. They really cared. I’m so sad they had to witness it.”

Gibson, who has been held since June while awaiting a grand theft auto charge, was hit with two felony animal cruelty charges for causing cruel death, pain and suffering, records show.

The petting farm, opened in 1994, is home to more than 150 animals. It is open to the public every other Sunday and has become one of the Key West area’s most beloved attractions, the Herald says.