A 62-year-old grandmother is devastated after she said an alligator snatched and killed her dog at a park in St. Petersburg, Florida this past weekend.
Florida native Sue Fortenbery told ABC News the harrowing incident happened on Sunday evening when she and her grandson took out her four dogs for an evening stroll in Joe’s Creek Greenway Park.
The dog owner says her 1-year-old Jack Russell terrier Bolt had “caught sight of a bunny and slipped out of his collar to chase it down. The bunny went under a hole under a fence near the water, and he just went right in after it.”
Soon after, Fortenbery’s grandson screamed at the sight of the pup being grabbed by the reptile. She continued through tears:
“I can’t stop hearing that scream and then the yelping from my dog when the gator got him. I will never go back to that park again.”
After being “heartbroken and horrified” by the loss of Bolt — who was named after the super canine in the Disney movie of the same name — Fortenbery wants local officials to fix the holes in the park’s fences or remove all the gators on the premises.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission released a statement saying Pinellas County will be “closely monitoring the park for alligators exhibiting nuisance behavior,” but parkgoers should be wary of gators due to “signage indicating the presence of alligators and other wildlife at the entrance to the park.”
But according to Fortenbery, those actions aren’t extreme enough. She argued officials shouldn’t wait until another human fatality — like the June case where a 2-year-old boy was fatally attacked by an alligator at a Disney World resort — to eradicate the predatory reptiles from the area. She explained:
“A park ranger just told me they were going to monitor the area, but isn’t one life killed enough? What do they need? Another Disney World incident to happen here? These gators are like rats; we just don’t need ’em. Gators 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.”
This is horrible. Sure, it’s important to protect the native wildlife, but safety should always take precedence.
Our hearts go out to Fortenbery over the loss of her loved one.
[Image via WFTS.]