Unprovoked alligator attacks are rare in Florida, but when they occur, it’s a big deal. New Florida residents are often unaware of the risks associated with walking near water, so they might not be as careful as they should be. One woman and her dog found that out the hard way.
An alligator pounced at the woman’s dog, but the woman used her body as a shield to protect her furry friend. Now, the dog is safe, but the woman is hospitalized. This event should be used as a warning for other Florida residents to be careful around gators.
Anything for a Best Friend
The woman was walking her dog in Pinellas County near her neighborhood’s pond when a 7-foot alligator suddenly jumped out of the water toward the canine. The woman shielded her dog from the gator, but the reptile bit her leg instead. Neighbor Gene Vance witnessed the attack, so he called 9-1-1 as the woman’s boyfriend came to help.
“The gator tried to get the dog but she grabbed the dog pretty quickly. But in turn, she slipped down and the gator got her leg just underneath the knee.” said Vance. “[Her boyfriend] took off his pants to make a tourniquet. That’s how bad it was. To try to stop the blood.”
First responders rushed the woman to the hospital following the incident. She saved her dog’s life, but she lost a lot of blood in the process.
A few neighbors have seen the large alligator before, and many suspect residents are to blame for the attack. The alligator approached the officers when they arrived, so it would seem someone has been feeding the wild animal. One resident claims they saw kids teasing the alligator too.
Staying Safe Around Gators
Officials have removed the alligator from the pond, but neighbors are still adamant that something more needs to be done. The only alligator warning sign on the property is so faded that it’s barely legible. Residents think that people moving in should be warned about walking near bodies of water. While rare, alligator attacks are not something you want to deal with.
“There needs to be more vigilance,” said neighbor Amy Pounder. “We need to have preparation when you move in here. No one ever says beware.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that alligators are often seen during their breeding seasons in May, June, and July. They’re also most active at dusk and dawn.
“It’s one of those things — you know that the gators are there,” said Vance. “You see these things happen to other people but you never expect it to happen to you, so you just have to take precautionary measures and stay away from the edge of the lake.”
If the woman hadn’t stepped in, her dog might not have survived. Not every victim is so lucky, though. When walking your dog in areas where gators live, stay away from the edge of the water, and always be aware of your surroundings.