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Follow these tips to live safely with our alligator neighbors

Residents have questions after Thursday's fatal gator attack on a dog.

It’s clear here in Florida we are in alligator country. There may be an alligator in any body of water. 

After an alligator attacked and killed a dog in Auburndale on Thursday, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission got a lot of questions about keeping people and pets safe from gators.

“This is the fourth time this has happened,” neighbor Jade Hale said. “An alligator ate my cousin's chocolate lab when it was a puppy here too.”

The FWC recommends four main action steps when it comes to living with alligators safely. 

  • Number one: Never feed an alligator. It’s illegal and when fed, gators start to associate humans with food. 
  • Number two: Keep your pets away from the water. Gators can easily lunge at anything close by. 
  • Number three: Swim during the day and only in designated areas. 
  • And number four: Keep your distance if you do see a gator, they are capable of running short bursts up to 30 mph.

Florida has more than 1 million alligators. The FWC says over the last 10 years, there’s been about seven alligator bites a year that are unprovoked. 

Just remember, alligators are opportunistic feeders and will eat animals that are readily available to them.

“I feel for the couple that lost their dog here yesterday, I know what it’s like to lose a dog. It’s like losing a child,” Hade said.

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