Officials: 12-foot alligator attacks couple's dog at Florida park

A couple was walking their dog at a Central Florida park last week when a large alligator came out of the water and snatched their dog.

The incident reportedly happened Friday at Riverside Park in Oviedo, Florida.

Lisa McDonald, communications manager for the City of Oviedo, told FOX 35 that the couple was walking along the Little Econ River at Riverside Park when an alligator – estimated to be 12-feet long – came out of the water and snatched the dog. The boyfriend then reportedly jumped on the alligator to rescue the dog, she said.

City staff was not notified of the incident until Saturday, she said.

In a statement, the FWC said a permit was issued to trap the gator, and that the trapper removed a 12-foot, 6-inch alligator from the park on Sunday.

The status of the dog was not immediately known.

According to the FWC, alligators are located throughout Florida and should be presumed to in any body of water, including lakes, ponds, swamps, rivers, and marshes. While they are considered to be opportunistic feeders, they do become more active in the spring and summer months as temperatures rise.

The FWC recommends the following alligator safety tips:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the edge of any body of water. Pets can be mistaken for an alligator's natural prey.
  • Swim only in designated areas, during daylight hours, and without pets.
  • Never feed an alligator.

So, what do you do if you see an alligator?


Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline

The state of Florida has a Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline where people can report nuisance alligators – and have a licensed trapper come out to remove the reptile. The Florida Nuisance Alligator Hotline number is 866-FWC Gator, or 866-392-4286.

According to the FWC's website, "an alligator is deemed a nuisance if it is at least 4 feet in length and the caller believes it poses a threat to people, pets or property." This also includes alligators that end up in places you do not want them to be, such as in swimming pools, garages, or on the front porch.

However, alligators that are smaller than four feet are not considered to be a nuisance alligator because they are "not large enough to be dangerous to people or pets," the FWC said.

Alligators are not relocated once captured; they are euthanized. The FWC said removing nuisance alligators does not have a significant impact on the overall gator population in Florida, and alligators would have to be relocated to remote areas where other alligators may live and have already determined their social structures.