Mayor kills 12-foot gator believed to be responsible for killing mini-horse

By Leigh Frillici - Reporter

LIVINGSTON, Texas - "It's big."

The last time Livingston Mayor Judy Cochran was within range of the monster alligator, she was firing at it on her ranch.

"One shot and he went under," she said.

Gators are no strangers to her ranch. They live in ponds there, but the 12-foot, 580-pound gator was a prime suspect in a mystery.

"About three years ago, we came up missing a miniature horse. We highly suspect a gator got it," Cochran said.

Concerned about the safety of their other pets and animals, Cochran and her family wanted to track the big boy down. But in Polk County, there are rules.

"You can only hunt and kill a gator between Sept. 10 and Sept. 30, and you have to have a permit and a tag," Cochran said.

VIDEO: Livingston Mayor Judy Cochran shoots gator

Cochran said she had the permit and tag when she shot the gator.

She brought out Stephen Moye to help trap the male alligator.

"I'm a nuisance trapper," said Stephen Moye. "In Texas, we have to catch it on a hook and line."

Moye tried many meals to entice the gator without success.

"We tried chicken, we tried pork liver, wild boar, we tried roadkill raccoon," he said.

"I understand it's a well-seasoned raccoon that was the bait of choice," said Cochran.

Once Moye had the gator hooked, the mayor got a call.

"You just can't abandon your office, so I did those things, ran home, changed clothes," Cochran said.

And then, with one shot, she ended the problem. It's all in a day's work for Cochran.

"This head is going in my office," she said.

“I became mayor in May, became a great-grandmother on Friday, killed the gator on Monday.”

So what’s next?

“I'm going to see what I can get into next," Cochran said with a laugh.

Taking care of gators runs in Cochran's family. In 2009, her grandson, then 5 years old, shot an even bigger alligator -- 12 feet, 7 inches long. He was on "The Today Show," and afterward the family took a picture with Lester Holt.

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