‘The thing opened his mouth:’ Florida man, 75, fought off alligator that attacked his daughter’s golden retriever

American Alligator In Water

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — A Florida man, 75, fought off an alligator after it came out of a pond behind his home and grabbed his daughter’s golden retriever on Tuesday morning, July 9.

Buddy Ackerman said Osi was in the middle of doing his business when the 7-foot, 7-inch gator grabbed onto his backside.

“He was squealing a good bit when the thing grabbed him,” Ackerman said. “I go up and slip and fall on my rear end, and the two of us are tugging. Alligator is going one way. I’m going the other.”

Ackerman said he kicked the alligator in the snout twice, and Osi got loose.

“The thing opened his mouth and backed up a little,” said Ackerman.

Ackerman was watching Osi for his daughter while she was on vacation.

“My father is our hero! Osi and I are so very grateful that nobody was hurt,” Jody Ackerman said.

Trappers came out the following day and recovered the alligator.

Ackerman said he was thankful Osi wasn’t bite-sized.

“I don’t know what would have happened with people with little Pekingese or something running around. I guess we’d say goodbye,” said Ackerman.

Jody Ackerman said Osi was later taken to read the signs, warning of alligators in the water, to make sure he understands them.

Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told residents to be cautious with their pets. Dogs and cats are similar in size to the natural prey of alligators. They said pet owners should not allow their animals to swim, exercise, or drink in or near waters that may contain alligators. Dogs often attract an alligator’s interest.

FWC has a statewide program dedicated to handling nuisance alligators.

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