YAPHANK - The hunt is on for whoever abandoned an alligator that bit a man in Suffolk County Friday.

Robert Lheureux, of Yaphank, discovered the reptile Friday afternoon in his backyard. He says it was roaming the land and waters of Mill Pond off Yaphank-Middle Island Road.

Lheureux says he was able to pick up the alligator and put it into a cooler. However, the 15-inch long reptile bit him on his pinky finger while he was attempting to feed it.

Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross says he believes the alligator was an illegal pet and was abandoned.

β€œIt appears that it was probably just dumped there like many of the others had been dumped in various parts of the Island,” Gross told News 12. β€œI want to make this clear that we take this very seriously and this is a criminal investigation.”

The Suffolk SPCA says whoever dumped the alligator faces a fine and criminal charges. They're offering a $1,000 reward for information in the case.

Anyone with information about the gator is asked to call the SPCA at 631-382-7722.