A Florida man 'thumbed' an alligator in the eye to rescue his dog from a 'death roll'

·2 min read
Alligator in Florida
An alligator swims through the Wakodahatchee Wetlands on March 28, 2021 in Delray Beach, Florida. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
  • On Tuesday, a Florida man wrestled with an alligator to protect his 8-month-old dog.

  • The man, Mike McCoy, told NBC that he watched as his dog was "in a death roll" with the reptile.

  • McCoy used his knowledge about alligators to save his dog and himself by thumbing it in the eye.

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On Tuesday, May 11, Mike McCoy was walking his 8-month-old chocolate lab, Jake, through his neighborhood in Holiday, Florida, when he noticed something was amiss.

Jake had wandered a few feet away near a pond when McCoy noticed something spring out of the water with no warning. Before he knew it, the alligator had pulled his dog underneath the water.

"He was in a death roll with that thing," he told NBC News on May 14. Instead of panicking or running for help, McCoy did the first thing he could think of - he jumped into the water to try and grab Jake.

"I previously read up on my environment and gators. I got around, thumbed him in the eye, picked him out of the water so he couldn't get anywhere until he let the dog go. And in the interim he decided, I don't have him, I'll bite you," he told ABC Action News.

mike mccoy dog jake
McCoy and Jake after the attack. NBC

"Had I not remembered what I read about the alligators, I wouldn't have been able to respond as quickly to help Jake. It was only because I knew what I did that I felt confident to fight the gator off," he added to NBC.

While they're lucky, they didn't come out of the encounter totally unscathed. The attack was right near a school, and a nearby nurse witnessed the entire thing and was able to help bandage McCoy's wounds - the alligator bit him twice. Both Jake and McCoy needed stitches.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission told ABC Action News they estimated the alligator to be between 7 and 9 feet long, and are working with a trapper to capture the reptile.

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