Florida man wrestles gator that sprang from pond, snatched Lab puppy

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NEAR TAMPA, Fla. (WSVN) — A Florida man took matters into his own hands — literally — to save his four-legged friend in danger of becoming a snack for an alligator.

Jake, an 8-month old chocolate Labrador, is always happy to greet visitors, even after the large reptile tried to have him for breakfast on Tuesday.

“He’s on the mend,” said his owner, Mike McCoy. “He’s full of spit and vinegar today.”

McCoy said he was walking Jake near a pond behind a middle school near Tampa when a gator sprang out from the water and pulled the canine under.

“He was in the death roll with that old gator,” he said.

Teacher Kellie Mallon said she happened to be looking out the window from the second floor and saw it all unfold.

“It was kind of like a snake darting really fast, like a snake darts real fast and puts its head back. It was super fast,” she said.

Mallon said she also watched as Mike jumped into the water.

“I got around, thumbed him in the eye, picked him out of the water so he couldn’t get anywhere, until he let the dog go,” said McCoy. “and in the interim, he decided, ‘OK, I don’t have him. I’ll bite you.’”

The owner and the dog both got stitches, but thankfully nothing worse. The school nurse even helped bandage McCoy up.

“I could be worse,” he said.

Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said they estimate the gator to be 7 to 9 feet long.

FWC said these kinds of attacks are rare in the Sunshine State, but people should be careful near water during warmer months.

Some may think McCoy was crazy for fighting the alligator, but he said he didn’t think twice about doing what he did.

“No hesitation. It’s just the way it is,” he said.

Wildlife officials have since called in a trapper to remove the alligator from the pond.

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