Authorities in Florida are investigating after two alligators with their heads removed were found on the bank of a canal in a community in Palm Beach County this week.
It is currently alligator hunting season in Florida, but the carcasses found in Loxahatchee Groves Tuesday were in an advanced state of decomposition and it hasn't been determined if they were decapitated by humans or animals that later fed on the corpses, an official with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
"The problem is with the advanced state of decomposition and the limited amount of information we've received it's hard to determine what took place," FWC public information coordinator Carol Lyn Parrish said.
Neighbors in the community of around 3,100 were alarmed by the discovery.
"It's reprehensible," Amy Best told NBC affiliate WPTV. "I don't understand how people could do this."
While it is currently alligator hunting season, the hunt is restricted to certain areas and is not permitted in Loxahatchee Groves, Parrish said, but it isn't clear that the alligators were killed there or were dumped in the community. Hunters are limited to two alligators where hunting is allowed, she said.
"We do ask that people do consider sportsman-like behavior and properly dispose of the carcasses," Parrish said. If anyone is found to be responsible criminal charges are possible, she said.