Dog saved by owner from gator's grip

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Hazel is one unfortunate but very lucky Weimaraner.

“It’s a miracle she’s alive and she survived,” said Gladys Gonzales, who owns the 10-year-old gray dog the family has had since she was a puppy.

Hazel was out walking with her mom and dad, Sunday — Gladys and Andrew Gonzales consider her their baby — along a canal near their home, not far from Coral Way at S.W. 129th Court. Hazel was scampering about as she always does when the family takes a walk.

“All of a sudden, a gator just lunged at her and took her into the water,” Gladys Gonzales said.

The alligator, about 6-feet long, dragged the dog beneath the water, clenched in its jaws.

“I didn’t know what to do. I was in total shock,” Gonzalez said. “My husband just threw rocks into the water to try to scare the gator. All I could do was just yell, of course, and just watch as she looked up at us helplessly.”

Finally, Gladys held her husband by the ankles and he crawled head first into the water.

“I held him, and I guess for an instant the gator let go or whatever and he was able to get hold of her and her harness, and pull her out of the water,” Gladys recounted.

Rushed to the animal hospital, Hazel had lost a huge amount of blood. She had a jagged gash a foot wide and three inches or more deep across her back, and puncture wounds on other parts of her body.

Wildlife officers came out Sunday but were unable to take immediate action, residents said, because they were told the canal is owned by the South Florida Water Management District.

A neighbor who helped staunch the bleeding on the wounded Weimaraner said the alligator that attacked the dog isn’t alone.

“I’ve started to see alligators and alligators and alligators,” said Yarissa Leon, who has photographed and taken videos of a growing gator population in the canal behind her home over the last five years.

She worries what the burgeoning number of bold reptiles might foretell. She says there have been previous cases of dogs being attacked along the canal that is lined with homes, and near an elementary school.

“Next time, it’s going to be a child that’s attacked,” Leon said.

Residents said the Florida Wildlife And Conservation Commission is assessing the situation, with the thinking being they’ll have trappers remove a number of alligators from the canal, given its close proximity to so many homes and the neighboring elementary school.

For Hazel the Weimaraner, and other living things, it can’t happen a moment too soon.

Should you have a nuisance alligator or alligators in your yard or neighborhood, the state maintains an alligator hotline that is answered 24 hours a day.  The number is 1-866-392-4286.

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