Florida law says if a gator attacks your pet, you're not allowed to shoot and kill it

Dog attacked by 8-foot gator
Posted at 6:44 PM, Jul 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-13 05:38:49-04

“She is our little Abbey Rose, that’s what we would have named our little girl,” Lisa Bass said about her dog. “She’s our child. She’s a family member.”


On Sunday, the Bass family was out by their backyard at the canal. Lisa’s husband Todd was fishing with their two young boys and Abbey was running around. 


Suddenly, Todd heard Abbey yelp in pain.


“He heard the splashing and crying as he was running,” Lisa Bass said. “When he got there there was nothing.”


For 30 seconds there was no sign of Abbey as the 8-foot gator held her underwater. 

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“My husband thought that she was done,” Lisa Bass said. “Then he just got in the water and started screaming for her.”


That’s when Abbey came back up and with it the gator. Both of them were just two feet away from Todd.


“My husband just screamed at the gator to leave her alone,” Lisa Bass said. 


Abbey made it out alive with just some bruises and scratches. 


“It’s kind of a miracle,” Bass said. 


Abbey is on antibiotics and pain medications but the veterinarian said she will be fine.


“It wouldn’t have been the same without her for sure,” Lisa Bass said.

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The Bass family said they called SNAP who sent trappers out but they weren’t able to catch it. 


The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were called along with police. Lisa Bass said officials told her that because the alligator didn’t attack a human they couldn’t kill it. 


“If it’s an animal, they can only get that gator on our property,” Lisa Bass said. 


She said she is concerned because the alligator is still out there. Even though it grabbed Abbey this time, it could have grabbed her young boy who is about the same weight as the dog. 


“They’re not allowed to play out by the water anymore,” Lisa Bass said. 


Florida Fish and Wildlife said alligators are protected by Florida law. Under rare circumstances you can claim self defense when an alligator attacks you.


Wildlife expert David Hitzing said if an alligator is truly aggressive against you or your pet on your property you can take actions against the alligator. But if the attack against a pet happens outside your property it is even more difficult to claim self defense.

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Hitzing said that's because FWC does not want people shooting and killing alligators at random and then claiming self defense.


"If your pet was truly attacked and you go and killed the alligator, I think it would be pretty difficult for the state to prosecute you," Hitzing said.