A nine-foot long alligator attacked and killed a woman’s 75-pound dog Wednesday in Florida, leading authorities to warn local residents about the dangers of allowing pets to wander off leash. Pinellas County police got the call regarding the attack in St. Petersburg, a coastal town near Tampa.
“This afternoon, deputies responded to the woman’s residence… after the alligator attacked her dog, a 75 lb Chow mix, and dragged the dog down into the creek,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately, deputies were unable to rescue the dog. A trapper was called and the large alligator was removed from the creek.”
Authorities posted a picture of the alligator in question alongside the summary of the incident. It remained unclear whether it would be put down or released. Alligators are prevalent in Florida; more than one million roam the state, so attacks are not uncommon. This particular attack led deputies to warn “parents of small children and pet owners to be cautious around water.” Alligators chose their prey based on size, making pets and small children prime targets, the Miami Herald reported.
The incident drew conflicting comments from residents in the area. Many were angry with the dog’s owner, while others expressed sympathy that her dog had been killed.
“My husband works to the left of that creek and he said the dog was unleashed and he jumped in the water and was swimming around,” one commenter wrote. “Then as he was climbing out of the water the gator grabbed and dragged him back in right [sic] in front of everybody.”
Authorities declined to say whether the dog was leashed at the time of the attack.