The defence lawyer for a man accused of throwing a live hen to an alligator at a Hunter wildlife park has likened the alleged act to preparing a chicken for KFC.

Peter William Smith’s identity can now be revealed after his case was called in Raymond Terrace Local Court in NSW for the first time on Monday, February 5.

The 57-year-old did not front court in person but his defence solicitor Bryan Wrench appeared on his behalf and entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of committing an act of aggravated cruelty upon an animal.

“This is an allegation about an alligator eating a chicken,” Mr Wrench told the court.

“It’s a strange one, Your Honour.”

He described the act of alleged animal cruelty as something viewers might see in a David Attenborough documentary.

He doubled down, telling the court it could be how a chicken might be prepared for KFC.

Magistrate Justin Peach ordered police to compile a brief of evidence in the case, ahead of Smith’s next court date in March.

Smith was charged at Singleton Police Station in the days after officers and RSPCA investigators were called to Oakvale Wildlife Park at Salt Ash on the afternoon of January 2.

Police allege Smith plucked a Chinese Silkie Bantam hen – known as Betty White – from a park enclosure and tossed it into the park’s alligator enclosure, where it was killed.

After she died, park handlers remembered Betty White as friendly and a great mother chook.

Witnesses reported being horrified at the alleged incident unfolding in front of visitors to the wildlife park.