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Tags: alligator | puppy | florida

Florida Man Wrestles Puppy From Jaws of Alligator

alligator resting on a road with people biking by
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Monday, 23 November 2020 01:09 PM EST

A Florida man wrestled an alligator to save the life of his three-month-old puppy. Richard Wilbanks, 74, of Estero, and his pup, Gunner, were taking a walk along the pond when the sharp-toothed reptile flew out of the water "like a missile" and grabbed Gunner.

Wildlife cameras caught the incident on camera. In the video footage made available by WINK, Wilbanks is seen screaming "No!" as he fights the alligator underwater then drags it to land. He then pries Gunner from its jaws.

"My hands were chewed up," Wilbanks told the outlet. He said his instincts just kicked in when he dove into the water. Luckily Gunner only sustained one minor puncture wound and is on the mend.

"They're like children to us, so there was no second thought whatsoever," Wilbanks explained of his pets.

"Fortunately, I was in a position that I was able to save Gunner's life," he added.

Cameras had been set up to monitor wildlife in the area as part of a campaign by the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP Foundation to encourage a "shared landscape" between humans and animals.

"We don't just want to tolerate wildlife, but, rather, we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape," said Meredith Budd, regional policy director of the FWF.

Wilbanks agreed with Budd and decided not to report the rescue to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He now keeps Gunner on a leash and is careful not to walk the pup near the water's edge.

"I would like to emphasize for people that have pets to make sure that they keep them away from the edge of the water," he said.

In a statement, the FWC urged pet owners to be cautious of alligators and other predators.

"We encourage everyone to take precautionary measures, particularly those who live or recreate near the water," the statement read. "Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators."

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TheWire
A Florida man wrestled an alligator to save the life of his three-month-old puppy. Richard Wilbanks, 74, of Estero, and his pup, Gunner, were taking a walk along the pond when the sharp-toothed reptile flew out of the water "like a missile" and grabbed Gunner. Wildlife...
alligator, puppy, florida
326
2020-09-23
Monday, 23 November 2020 01:09 PM
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