To be clear, 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt's crime wasn't feeding the alligator his hand — that falls under the "unfortunate accident" defense. It was the fish he dangled in front of the 9-foot gator that led to his being charged (and, of course, having an appendage bitten off).
Look, did he make a poor choice? Clearly. As he lured the gator over with the fish, he placed his hand on the surface of the water. But loss of one's hand seems like an appropriate punishment, old-fashioned as it may be. And Weatherholt obviously learned his lesson. Losing a hand and ($1,000 in bail money) tends to leave a lasting impression.
The alligator was found and euthanized. Weatherholt's hand was also recovered, but it could not be reattached.
The one-handed man will be back in court on Aug. 22. In Florida, the unlawful feeding of alligators is a second-degree misdemeanor.