Authorities have reported that an 85-year-old woman was killed in a tragic alligator attack on Monday in Florida, while she was out walking her dog. The incident took place at Spanish Lakes Fairways, a 55-plus community located in Fort Pierce, about 67 miles north of West Palm Beach. According to the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Gloria Serge was walking her small dog near the community retention pond when the 10-foot alligator appeared from the water, knocked her over, and pulled her into the pond by her foot.
Witnesses stated that the woman was trying to fight off the alligator after it grabbed her dog. Residents immediately called 911, and authorities recovered Gloria Serge. A “contracted nuisance alligator trapper” captured and euthanized the alligator, which weighed 600 to 700 pounds. Robert Lilly, the alligator trapper, said, “It was definitely a fight. [We] snagged him on the bottom. He never surfaced. He stayed down the whole time. We were able to get a second hook in him and a hard line in him so we could get him up.”
The dog survived the attack, but the commission spokesperson did not disclose its condition. Officials at Spanish Lakes Fairways declined to comment on the incident.
Alligator attacks resulting in serious injuries are rare, according to the commission, although there are about 1.3 million alligators in Florida. The agency encourages people with concerns about alligators to contact its Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-392-4286, which dispatches alligator trappers to resolve situations. An alligator is considered a nuisance if it is more than 4 feet long and poses a threat to people, pets, or property.
The commission advises people not to feed alligators and to keep their distance from them. It also recommends keeping pets on leashes and at a distance from bodies of water, as alligators prefer freshwater lakes and slow-moving rivers.