Police: Alligator's Owner Found After Beating Pet With Hammer, Dumping it in Lake

Police have located the owner of a 4-foot alligator found in a park at this Lake Michigan shoreline community.

Police Chief Mark Barnett said the owner may face animal cruelty charges.

"The man said he was looking for a place to get rid of it to, but he couldn't get anyone to take it," Barnett told the Ludington Daily News.

The man tried to kill the animal with a hammer, then dumped it in the grass, Barnett said.

"He thought it was dead," the chief said.

But the animal survived the attack and wandered over to Copeyon Park, Barnett said.

A man walking his dog near the edge of some tall grass in a marshy area of the park on Monday evening spotted the alligator. Several people took pictures of it with their cell phones before police and animal control officers corralled it.

The case is being forwarded to the Mason County prosecutor's office for review for possible animal cruelty charges, the chief said.

The animal was being cared for at the county animal control office, and authorities were looking into sending it to a refuge near Traverse City, Barnett said.