CORRECTION: The story originally said the incident happened in South Daytona, but it happened in Daytona Beach Shores. The story has been corrected.

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. — Police arrested a man who they said beat an alligator after allegedly taking it from a miniature golf course early Thursday morning.

What You Need To Know

  • Daytona Beach Shores police say they witnessed William Hodge beating a gator

  • Police say Hodge told them he took it from a nearby Congo River Golf

  • The gator was checked out, is OK and was returned to the business

  • Hodge was charged with animal cruelty

Daytona Beach Shores police officers say they watched William Hodge, 32, try to throw the gator onto the roof of a building along South Atlantic Avenue at around 3:21 a.m. The charging affidavit says Hodge then took the gator by its tail and hit it against the building awning, slammed it to the ground and stomped on it, and then threw the gator over his shoulder and then down onto the ground again. 

After taking Hodge into custody, police say he told them that he'd jumped a fence at the Congo River Golf on South Atlantic Avenue and stole the gator. When asked why he was throwing the reptile in the air, police say Hodge says he was "teaching it a lesson."

Police say Hodge then tried to flood the holding cell he was in by clogging up the toilet bowl and floor drain with toilet paper. 

Hodge was charged with animal cruelty, possession and injury of an alligator, and unarmed burglary of an unoccupied dwelling.

Volusia County Animal Control says the gator is OK and back in its pen at Congo River Golf. 

Spectrum News reporter Nicole Griffin contributed to this story.