(ORLANDO, Fla.) — How far would you go to protect your pet? Would you fight off a hungry alligator? A Florida grandfather did just that to save his furry friend.
Steve Gustafson, 66, was doing yard work on Tuesday when he heard his 9-year-old West Highland Terrier cry out for help. He turned around to find a 7-foot gator pulling the pooch into the water by her shoulder and collar.
“For whatever reason, I don’t know, I just yelled, ‘you’re not going to get her!’ and just leaped on the gator…just like you do some silly belly flop in a pool,” Gustafson told the Orlando Sentinel. “The only difference was I landed on top of a gator.”
He managed to wrestle the dog from the gator’s grip and bring it back up to shore. Both Gustafson and the dog were a little bruised, but otherwise unharmed.
Patrick Delaney, an alligator biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said attacks on dogs are “extremely uncommon” but do occur.
“One thing we stress at the Florida Fish and Wildlife is to be proactive. Not letting your dog that close to the shoreline would be the best thing you could do, and if you’re near the shore, keep your dog on a leash,” he told ABCNews.com.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Kevin Liptak, CNN