Report: Neighbors may have contributed to July gator attack

Investigators found the 10-foot gator probably had been fed by people before.

SAN CARLOS PARK, Fla.  - A new report shows that Gene Witzel’s gator attack may have been caused by her neighbors.

Last July, Witzel survived after a gator bit her outside her San Carlos Park home.

However, a new report indicates that people who live in this community believe that this gator had been fed by humans in the past.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that it is illegal to feed alligators because there is a possibility that is can lead to an attack like this one. It is also illegal to feed any wildlife.

In the report, Witzel told investigators that she was gardening when a 10-foot gator latched onto her leg. She then stabbed it with scissors and kicked it until she could break free. Witzel then called 911 and screamed for help until neighbors arrived.

Personal injury attorney Elizete Velado says it’s hard to tell if a lawsuit can be filed over this. But, Witzel could hold the homeowner’s association responsible for this attack if they knew the alligator posed a threat.

“The question and the issue is going to be whether the homeowners association or the condo association was aware that the gator was being fed,” Velado said.

Neighbors told wildlife officials that there were rumors that people fed the alligator, including golfers tossing sandwiches into the water.

FWC says that when trappers arrived on scene, the reptile swam right up to them.

“That is an indicator that the alligator has been fed in the past,” said FWC spokesperson Brian Norris.

According to the report, a manager at the community told investigators that he wouldn’t be surprised if the alligator has been fed, but he also mentioned that emails have been sent out to homeowners reminding them to not feed the alligators and use caution around the ponds in the community.

WINK News reached out to the manager for comment but didn’t hear back.

As of right now, no charges have been filed.

This story originally appeared on WINK News’ website.

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