Cody the dachshund was eaten by an alligator despite his owner’s desperate attempts to save him.
A Florida couple was visiting a St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Tallahassee on Saturday with their pet, an 11-year-old dachshund named Cody, when something terrible happened.
Mike Karris and his fiancee, Rae Wilkerson, arrived at the boat ramp at approximately 3 p.m. and sat Cody down, without thinking, unleashed, the Daily Mail reports. Moments later, an eight-foot alligator emerged from the water and snatched up their little dog. The alligator then successfully retreated back into the water with Cody in his grasps.
Karris and Wilkerson witnessed the shocking encounter, and putting their own safety aside, rushed to help Cody, but it was simply too late.
“I couldn’t catch up to the gator. It was so fast,” Karris said on Tuesday, USA Today reports. “The whole thing, start to finish, didn’t last five seconds and the dog wasn’t on the ground for more than a minute.”
An 8-foot alligator ate an unleashed 11-year-old dachshund, Cody, at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida http://t.co/zmyahxPEFo
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 2, 2015
Karris contacted the park staff following the incident but says he does not hold a grudge toward the alligator and its natural instincts to kill. He just hopes that his story will help others realize the importance of keeping their pets on leashes. The couple believes the alligator came out of the water and crossed 10 feet of grass and gravel to come onto the pavement where their boat was parked.
“While it’s up to us to be our first line of defense and watch out for our loved ones,” Karris said, “I’m not sure having a gator that’s aggressive and not scared of humans at a family-friendly park is a safe situation.”
Refuge manager Terry Peacock said incidents involving the hundreds of gators and the park and humans are very rare. Any alligators that have ever become a threat to humans have been removed safely from the park. While Peacock and the other refuge officials feel sympathy for the loss of the couple’s dog, Peacock said he can’t punish the animal for doing what it was born to do.
“I can’t punish an alligator for being an alligator,” Peacock said. “That’s just an alligator being its normal self.”
[Photo via Shutterstock]