A Florida homeowner shot and killed an alligator he found biting his dog, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
He won’t face charges, wildlife officials determined.
The incident happened around 6:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5, in the backyard of a home in Deltona, the FWC said in a news release. Deltona is about 30 miles north of Orlando.
“After letting his dog out in the backyard, the homeowner heard a disturbance and observed an alligator grabbing onto his dog,” FWC officials said.
“The homeowner discharged his firearm killing the alligator.”
The dog, a lab named Winston, suffered only a puncture to his ear, despite having its head held in the jaws of the 7-foot, 8-inch alligator, Fox 35 reports. The dog’s owner shot the reptile in the head four times “while it still had Winston between its teeth,” the station reports.
State wildlife officers took the carcass for proper disposal, officials said.
“After a thorough review of the incident, the homeowner will not be charged,” FWC officials said.
Florida has a designated hunting season — August 15 through November 1 — and requires hunters to have permits. Restrictions include hunting in designated areas with limits on the number of alligators that can be killed.
Alligators live in all 67 Florida counties, but serious injuries from alligator attacks are considered rare. The state has a “nuisance alligator program” that contracts with professional trappers to catch and remove alligators that pose a threat.
FWC recommends pet owners keep animals on a leash and away from the water’s edge, particularly between dusk and dawn when alligators are most active.
“Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey,” FWC says.
Floridians faced with a threatening alligators can call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and a trapper will be sent, the state says.
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