Florida Man Injured While Prying Open Alligator's Mouth After it Attacked His Pet Labrador in Canal

A Florida man has escaped with minor injuries after jumping into a canal to rescue his pet dog from an alligator's jaws outside his home in the town of Nokomis. The animal attack occurred on Friday at around 5 p.m., according to an official with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), WWSB reported. A sanctioned trapper responded to the scene at about 11 p.m., capturing a gator spanning over 9 feet long.

The homeowner on the 100 block of Margaret Drive grappled with the gator after his chocolate Labrador jumped into a canal behind the residence after being let outside. The man, who has not yet been identified by Florida media outlets or wildlife officials, entered the water after spotting his dog was being attacked—and dragged his pet to safety after prying open the gator's mouth.

Luckily, the Labrador and its courageous owner were not seriously hurt. An FWC officer said the dog was taken to the vet and both the pet and owner had only suffered minor injuries during the incident.

"We got a happy ending with this one, it is a good ending. They don't always happen that way," lieutenant Rob Gerkin, of the FWC, told WWSB in an interview streamed on Facebook Live. He surmised that the man's injuries occurred when he was prying the dog from the gator's grip.

It was not immediately clear if the man had been bitten by the alligator during the incident. Local resident Kelley Ann Ayers, of Nokomis Beach, said on social media that she took an image of the animal from a dock when it was spotted in the area the week prior to the Labrador attack.

"I had a fence built on Monday along the shore [and] I called the alligator hotline," Ayers wrote, referencing the number used to report so-called "nuisance" gators in the state of Florida.

"Before the trapper could get here it attacked a dog four doors down and the owner jumped in and saved the dog! Remarkably they are both OK!" Ayers' post continued. "It was huge!"

The image has attracted more than 100 reactions and dozens of comments from other Facebook users. "That's a big boy. Glad you and the dogs were all okay and he got trapped before anything bad happened cause that's definitely a huge gator," one person wrote under the photo.

In April, a Florida man jumped into a Leon County lake and "pounded the water" with his hands to rescue his 5-year-old granddaughter who was attacked on the leg by a lurking alligator.

The FWC explains online that the potential for conflict always exists for Floridians who live close to marshes, swamps, rivers and lakes in the state. Gators are found in all 67 counties.

"Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida, but if you are concerned about an alligator, call FWC's toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-392-4286. The FWC will dispatch one of its contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation," the agency notes in an advisory that is published on its website.

Alligator chomps dog
An alligator as seen during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 01, 2019 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Last week, an alligator failed to snack on a dog after its owner pried open its mouth and took back his pet. Sam Greenwood/Getty