NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. – An alligator killed a family’s dog on Monday at Naval Station Mayport, base officials said.
According to officials, the 13-pound dog got out of a house on base and was attacked by the alligator about 6 p.m. at Lake Wonderwood.
“The owner’s dog got out of the house without them knowing, and she went to try and find the dog, and, unfortunately, it ran down to the water,” said Naval Station Mayport Natural Resources Manager Heather Hahn. “So it’s basically in the water, next to the water, at the same time that there is a gator nearby.”
Hahn described it as a tragic accident.
“In this situation, there’s nothing that she (the owner) could’ve done,” she said. “But it’s good to be aware that there are gators here, and we make sure that we tell everyone about them.”
Naval Station Mayport Public Affairs Officer Bill Austin told News4Jax that they want to use the incident to remind people to stay away -- and keep their pets away -- from alligators.
“A reminder to keep yourselves and pets away from our native gators. And a good time to remind everyone that leashes are always required on dogs - in housing, on the beach and especially near bodies of water,” reads a post on Naval Station Mayport’s Facebook page. “Our condolences to the family who lost their dog.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Karen Parker said the alligator -- a male about 10 feet, 10 inches long -- was removed by a trapper and was still in the trapper’s possession as of Tuesday. She said the trapper, a contractor hired by the state, can either transfer the reptile to an alligator farm or “process” it for meat and its hide.
FWC encourages pet owners to make sure their animals are on a leash and a safe distance from the water’s edge. It’s also important to never feed wildlife, as it makes animals more comfortable approaching people and pets.
If you’re worried about an alligator in your neighborhood, call the FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286).