A 62-year-old woman, Sue Fortenbery, was left heartbroken after an alligator snatched her dog and killed him during a family walk at Joe’s Creek Greenway Park in St. Petersburg, Florida, reported ABC News.
Sunday afternoon, Fortenbery told Pinellas county police that she and her 18-year-old grandson, Kevin, decided to take her four dogs to the park for a walk.
As they were trudging along, watching the sunset, one of the dogs, a one-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Bolt, became distracted by a rabbit.
The dog “slipped out of his collar” and began to chase the bunny.
Fortenbery said that the rabbit “went under a hole under a fence near the water, and he [Bolt] just went right in after it.”
When her grandson went after the dog, he began to scream as he saw a gruesome scene.
An alligator, who was laying on the bank, had snatched the dog and killed it, according to KSAT.
“I can’t stop hearing that scream and then the yelping from my dog when the gator got him,” said the owner of the dog, who was fighting back tears. “I will never go back to that park again.”
After the alligator killed the dog, the woman is now asking “Pinellas County officials to fix the holes in the park’s fences or to remove all alligators from the area.”
Fortenbery went on to say that some of the openings in the “fences are a foot wide,” and if the issue would have been fixed, the alligator wouldn’t have been able to go under the fence and kill her beloved dog.
“A park ranger just told me they were going to monitor the area, but isn’t one life killed enough?” Fortenbery said. “What do they need? Another Disney World incident to happen here?”
Dogs are not the only potential victims roaming the park. Fortenbery said that parents often bring their children there as well, and it could have been a child that was killed by an alligator. That was what exactly happened in June at Disney World.
When a 2-year-old boy, Lane Graves, was walking near a “man-made lake at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Walt Disney World” in Orlando with his father, an alligator snatched the child and dragged him under the lake, drowning him.
His body, which was intact, was found the following day.
After the toddler’s death, the resort placed a fence around the area and posted warning signs, alerting people about alligators in the area.
However, recent reports indicated that the resort is now making plans to build a stone wall near the lake where the alligator killed the child.
Dog Killed by Alligator at Public Florida Park— Trend Style Daily (@TrendStyleDaily) August 12, 2016
Sue Fortenbery will never forget the screams she heard that day.
“These gators are like rats; we just don’t need them,” said Fortenbery. “Alligators shouldn’t be in the middle of a city. I don’t want someone else’s pet – or even worse, their child – to be killed. We need to take care of this now.”
After learning that a dog was grabbed and killed at a St. Petersburg park, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission released a statement that stated, “The incident was originally reported to Pinellas County park staff, no description of the alligator was provided. The county will be closely monitoring the park for alligators exhibiting nuisance behavior. Alligators are among numerous types of wildlife routinely observed at Joe’s Creek. There is signage indicating the presence of alligators and other wildlife at the entrance to the park.”
“Pinellas County manages numerous parks with fresh water bodies where wildlife can be found and most of them do not have any fences or other barriers,” the statement continued. “The fence around Joe’s Creek Greenway Park is built to a uniform height, but variation in the landscape, including erosion, make gaps along the bottom of the fence possible.”
As of now, the Pinellas County police are not planning to remove the alligator. They do not consider the gator a nuisance since there were no other complaints. However, authorities have confirmed that they will monitor the alligator.
[Image via iStock Photo]