Release Date: 07/24/2007

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited a Plaquemines Parish resident for violating Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission (LWFC) rules and regulations pertaining to the alligator-farming program.

Rusty John Cavalier, 41, of Belle Chasse, was cited for allegedly failing to return farm-raised alligators to the land where their eggs were collected. 

Agents received information about numerous small dead alligators at the location of a boat launch in the Hero Canal in Belle Chasse shortly after the release of the alligators on May 22.  Agents discovered and retrieved LDWF tag numbers from alligators at the site.  The tags were traced by LDWF Fur and Refuge Division personnel, who oversee Louisiana's alligator program. 

The alligators were tagged for release on lands held by Cavalier.  After being interviewed, Cavalier informed the agents that he released 280 alligators at Hero Canal.  Approximately 224 of the alligators were tagged for release on 10 other sites.

Alligator farmers are allowed to remove a pre-determined number of eggs from lands with suitable alligator population and raise the alligators hatched from the eggs on their farms.  A percentage of the farm-raised alligators are required to be returned to the lands within a two-year period from hatching and after reaching a length of about 48 inches.

LWFC rules and regulations stipulate the responsibility of the landowner to return the alligators to the original area where the eggs were gathered.

If convicted for the alleged rules and regulations violation, the penalty for not returning the alligators to the land where the eggs were taken are fines up to $950, or jail time up to 120 days, or both, and forfeiture of anything seized in connection with the violation.

Agents participating in this case were Lt. Robert Martin, Cpt. Brian Clark, Sgts. Scot Keller and Adam Young, Senior Agents Gary Pierce, Robert Cosse, Roy Pier and Villere Reggio III, and Agent Timothy Fox.

For more information, contact Lt. Colonel Keith LaCaze at 225-765-2988 or