A man was walking by the pond with his pooch when an alligator suddenly grabbed the dog and pulled him into the swamp.
74-year-old Richard Willbanks did his best to save his pup Gunner, using his hands to open the reptile’s jaws and free the 3-year-old pooch who can be heard crying in pain.
The Cavalier King Charles later run to safety as the elderly man continued to fight the juvenile predator in the water.
The incident was captured on camera by the Florida Wildlife Federation, which sets up surveillance cameras to capture videos of animals in the area.
In an interview with CNN, Willbanks recalled the terrifying moment, saying: “We were just out walking by the pond, and it came out of the water like a missile.
“I never thought an alligator could be that fast. It was so quick.”
The elderly man said instinct or adrenaline kicked in and he “just automatically jumped into the water” to save his four-legged companion.
Willbanks managed to take on the reptile with minor injuries.
“My hands were just chewed up,” he expressed.
The Regional Policy Director of the Florida Wildlife Federation, Meredith Budd, said she found the footage ‘jarring’ and told ABC: “We live on a shared landscape. We don’t just want to tolerate wildlife, but, rather, we want to thrive with wildlife on a shared landscape.”
Willbanks agrees and said he does not want the alligator to be killed or removed from the pond. “They’re part of nature and part of our lives,” he added.
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